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FGCU Conducting Virus Outbreak Simulation

Beginning Thursday, October 29 at 8:00 a.m. a weeklong virus simulation will begin at Florida Gulf Coast University that uses smartphones and Bluetooth wireless technology.

Volunteers will install an app and leave it running for one week, with their Bluetooth turned on. Over that time data will be collected on which participants come into contact with others who are part of the simulation, a certain number of which start off as ‘infected’. The Operation Outbreak app was created by the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and Sarasota Military Academy.

The idea is to better understand people’s behavior and how viruses can spread to help model how outbreaks in the real world might unfold. This simulation is particularly looking at how SARS-CoV2 — the novel coronavirus — might interact with the annual flu.

We learn more about the simulation with Dr. Sharon Isern, Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at FGCU and a virologist.

The focus is on people who are at or around FGCU, but anyone can participate by installing the Operation Outbreak app on their phone and entering the code 'fgcu' (all lower case). The simulation will conclude on Thursday, November 5, at 11:59 p.m.