FATE project to predict new Covid-19 infections launched in Verona

The FATE project has been presented at the Municipality of Verona by the Rector, the Mayor and the project partners

IdentiFy, trAck and proTEct against Covid-19. These three words embody the scientific and social value of the innovative and comprehensive FATE research project, which aims to predict, based on population monitoring data, the evolution of the virus, indicating the most effective measures to take in the event of a ‘second wave’.

Statistical sampling will be used to identify a representative number of people from so-called ‘sentinel’ groups, who can signal early signs of virus infection in the population. The data collected will thus make it possible to implement all the necessary measures to prevent any massive spread of the virus in the population. Specifically, the aim is not to be caught unprepared, in order to offer the public, in the shortest possible time, the most effective and coordinated solutions to contain the Covid-19 infection. The University of Verona, the Municipality of Verona and the University Hospital of Verona took part in the project.

The idea behind the project was outlined via live streaming from Palazzo Barbieri (seat of the Municipality of Verona) by Mayor Federico Sboarina. Also present were the Rector of the University of Verona Pier Francesco Nocini, Evelina Tacconelli, director of the Infectious Diseases section at the University of Verona, Fabio Dal Seno, president of Fondazione della Comunità Veronese and the director of the local daily newspaper L’Arena Maurizio Cattaneo, whose publishing group Athesis launched during the health emergency, in collaboration with the Municipality and the foundation, the ‘AiutiAmo Verona’ fundraiser, which made it possible to support hospitals and the implementation of the FATE project. Davide Ghibellini, Domenico Girelli, Roberto Giacobazzi and Giuseppe Verlato, professors at the University of Verona, and Albino Poli, member of the scientific committee of the project, were also present.

“This project – recalls the Rector Pier Francesco Nocini – is the result of an idea which came to the Mayor and Prof. Tacconelli when the Mayor himself came to visit the Borgo Roma hospital (Verona) during the pandemic. That was a tough time and there were no easy solutions, but that prompted us to study the virus in more detail. Hence the idea of implementing a sentinel surveillance system which, in case of a possible return of the infection in October, will help us tackle the infection in a timely manner by putting in place a serious and effective plan”.

“From a scientific point of view, we cannot know for sure whether or not there will be a second wave of Covid-19 in autumn – explains Tacconelli. – Therefore, it is essential that health institutions and facilities are ready. For this reason, a number of ‘sentinel groups’ able to signal the early signs of the spread of the virus will be monitored, thus enabling us to act quickly to contain the infection”.

The Mayor Sboarina, together with the Rector Nocini and the President of the Province of Verona, Manuel Scalzotto, also presented the new promotional campaign of the University of Verona, which includes digital banner ads about the university and enrolment procedures for new students, to be displayed on the official websites of the local Municipality and the Province.

“Since I was appointed rector,” recalls Nocini, “my commitment has been to further connect the University of Verona with the local community. At this challenging time, I believe it is even more important to strengthen cooperation with our city, starting with the main actors of its administrative, economic, entrepreneurial and social life. The aim is to work together to get back on our feet relying on a comprehensive and dynamic educational offer of excellence, whose fruits can be reaped in the local area, through the growth and the enrichment of cultural and professional skills from the various fields of knowledge”.