Army Researchers Want Help Building Predictive COVID-19 Models For Use Across DOD

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The research partner will be expected to immediately begin work on two modeling analyses and be agile enough to shift as priorities change.

As the COVID-19 pandemic disrupts societies worldwide, Army medical researchers want help developing analytical models to predict the continued spread of the virus and future impacts to military health and readiness.

The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, or WRAIR, issued an “urgent” request for information Thursday for “COVID-19 modeling and prediction analyses services.”

As of April 29, the military reported 6,754 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among service members, civilian employees, dependents and contractors, according to Defense Department numbers. Of those, 2,176 have recovered while 27 have died due to the illness.

Of all the branches, the Army has the second-highest number of confirmed cases—998—behind the Navy, which has 1,723 confirmed cases.

As the number of cases grows, WRAIR researchers want to be able to predict the virus’ effects across all combatant commands on a range of areas, some of which have yet to be identified.

“The purpose of this urgent requirement is to facilitate collaboration between a partnered research laboratory and WRAIR investigators,” the RFI states. “These analyses will cover a range of [force health protection]-relevant questions which will arise on-demand, and may include healthcare system predictions, epidemic spread predictions, clinical outcome predictions, resource allocation, and the impact of a range of non-pharmaceutical and pharmaceutical interventions.”

To be eligible, prospective partners must be able to spin up research support immediately, have “substantive publication-proven experience” doing predictive analysis on previous epidemics, published work modeling data specifically for COVID-19, and “extensive experience” using notional or synthetic population data and applying those models to vaccine development.

The contractor should also be able to run at least two modeling analyses simultaneously—with the potential to scale up for more—and be agile enough to update and change tactics as needed, among other deliverables.

The Army also wants to use this RFI to determine whether the contract can be fulfilled a set-aside requirement, such as small, woman-owned or veteran-owned businesses.

The RFI has a quick turnaround: WRAIR contracting officers are accepting responses in PDF form through 1 p.m. May 4.

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