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The science behind the COVID-19 response.pdf.pdf (3.89 MB)

The science behind the COVID-19 response

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posted on 2021-02-26, 00:41 authored by Shaun HendyShaun Hendy, Joep de LigtJoep de Ligt

Aotearoa New Zealand, the country’s COVID-19 response is listed among the most successful around the globe.

A combination of decisive leadership, clear communication and scientific evidence have been highlighted as key factors to this success.

Two of these pieces of scientific evidence are the modelling data and the genomics data.

We will take you through the different phases of the pandemic response and how these data were used in decision making while explaining how the models and technologies adapted to the growing knowledge of the virus and the changing environment of our response.


Dr. Joep de Ligt is the Lead Bioinformatics at ESR, New Zealand, covering a wide range of organisms and genomic technologies. He has a long track record in the analysis of sequencing data in both a diagnostic and research setting. Within ESR strategic investments have been made to increase sequencing and bioinformatics capability. The genomics team he leads has a strong international network and had the ARTIC protocol for sequencing SARS-CoV-2 implemented and ready for the first New Zealand case of COVID-19.

Shaun Hendy has been a Professor of Physics at the University of Auckland since 2013 and has sat on Callaghan Innovation’s Board from 2018. In 2012, Shaun was awarded the Callaghan Medal by the Royal Society Te Apārangi and the Prime Minister’s Science Media Communication Prize for his work as a science communicator. Shaun was made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2020 for leading the modelling programme in New Zealand’s COVID-19 response.


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