ECDC launches RespiCast, new respiratory disease forecasting center

The ECDC announced this Monday the launch of the so-called European Center for the Prevention of Respiratory Diseases RespiCast, which, according to its parent organization, will “weekly sending of various indicators of respiratory diseases such as influenza-like illnesses, acute respiratory infections and Covid-19.”

Launched in late 2023, RespiCast, the new European Respiratory Disease Forecasting Centre, serves as a platform for real-time forecasting of respiratory disease activity and severity. The goal of RespiCast is to provide decision makers, public health agencies, and the public with reliable and timely information on the short-term epidemiological trajectory of respiratory diseases in Europe.

After ECDC established the Covid-19 forecasting center and Covid scenario modeling center RespiCast”,marks significant progress in the ability to predict respiratory illnesses, including influenza-like illnesses, acute respiratory infections (ARIs) and Covid rates,” explains ECDC.

Andrea Ammon, Director of ECDC, emphasizes that “RespiCast will build on the collaborative approach of existing Covid centres, bringing together global modeling teams, experts from diverse backgrounds and public health decision-makers. The outputs of this center will contribute to ECDC risk assessment, analysis, evaluation of public health recommendations and strategic planning for proactive actions in EU/EEA Member States.”

ECDC invited “teams from all over the world to actively contribute with weekly forecasts relating to various indicators of respiratory diseases.” These models use a wide range of approaches to model infectious diseases.

Using state-of-the-art techniques, RespiCast reconciles the individual forecasts of different models to create joint forecasts. This collaborative approach has proven effective in improving forecasting performance, especially in complex and dynamic infectious disease situations.

RespiCast “goes beyond providing forecasts,” explains the ECDC: “It creates a platform for participants to connect with peers across Europe and the rest of the world. “This inclusive approach creates a collaborative environment, facilitating the sharing of knowledge and advances in respiratory disease prediction and modeling.”

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