BBC experiment gives town a massive TV opportunity

BBC experiment gives town a massive TV opportunity

Haslemere is set for massive exposure on national TV through participation in an ambitious, ground-breaking science experiment that could ultimately save countless lives.

This unique project, BBC Pandemic, is being produced for the BBC by 360 Production.

The producers say: “The most likely and immediate threat to our species is a global pandemic of a highly infectious flu virus, like Spanish Influenza that hit in 1918. That particular outbreak killed up to 100 million people worldwide. One century later a catastrophic flu pandemic still tops the UK Government’s list of threats to this country.

BBC Pandemic could be key in preparing for the next outbreak. It’s a nationwide experiment but we have selected Haslemere in particular to shed light on how an influenza pandemic might spread through the population of a small town.

“The experiment will be at the heart of a major science documentary presented by mathematician Dr Hannah Fry, airing on the BBC next year.”

Anyone of any age who lives in Haslemere and has a smartphone can take part in the experiment. Simply download the BBC Pandemic app and select the “Haslemere Outbreak” option. Then, from 12 October for three days – and those three days only – the app will collect GPS data of your movements.

All the data will be made anonymous to protect your identity. A team from the University of Cambridge and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine will use it to predict how a flu outbreak might spread across the town – and what can be done to stop it.

The producers say: “Participation is entirely voluntary and you can opt out at any time but the more people participate, the more accurate the results will be, so please do join in.

“To get involved,  download the BBC Pandemic app via App Store or Google Play from 27 September 2017.”

WHY SHOULD YOU TAKE PART IN BBC PANDEMIC?

There are flu outbreaks every year but three times in the last 100 years there’s been a pandemic of a particularly deadly flu. Key to the Government’s response plan are mathematical models which simulate how a highly contagious disease may spread. These models help decide how best to direct NHS resources, like vaccines and protective clothing. But the models are only as good as the data that goes into them.

The more people of all ages that take part in BBC Pandemic, the better that data will be. By identifying the human networks and behaviours that spread a deadly flu, BBC Pandemic will help make these models more accurate and, in turn, help to stem the next pandemic.

This project has been commissioned by the BBC, and is being undertaken in collaboration with researchers at the University of Cambridge and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

WANT TO KNOW MORE?

Contact info@bbcpandemic.co.uk with “BBC Haslemere Pandemic” in the subject line to be kept updated with information about the project, including key dates and ways to get involved.

Important: this email account is managed by 360 Production – an independent production company, producing BBC Pandemic for the BBC – so that they may contact you with updates relating to the BBC Pandemic app and the subsequent documentary. Your details will not be retained after the app has ended, or passed to a third party at any time. Due to the volume of requests received, 360 Production may be unable to reply individually to every person who contacts them.

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