State-by-state breakdown of COVID-19

Researchers at the MDC have developed a new online tool that displays the development of the COVID-19 epidemic in Germany clearly and by individual state as well as worldwide. The map and timeline showing the spread of the coronavirus are freely available on the internet.

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) currently publishes daily situation reports that show the number of reported COVID-19 cases in Germany. Using this data, researchers at the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association (MDC) have now developed an online tool: Their map displays not only the total number of reported cases, but also the relative number of cases per 100,000 inhabitants for each German state, the daily new infections, deaths and current duplication rates. In addition, people can use a timeline to track the state-by-state development of the epidemic as well as numbers worldwide.

We searched the internet ourselves for similar representations and were surprised that - at the time - we could find nothing like this.
Prof. Dr. Matthias Selbach
Matthias Selbach Head of a lab at the MDC

The map and timeline are available at https://covid19germany.mdc-berlin.de. The data is automatically retrieved and processed from the RKI website and the website of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) every day, with the exact time of data retrieval also noted.

“We searched the internet ourselves for similar representations and were surprised that - at the time - we could find nothing like this,” says Professor Matthias Selbach, head of the research group on Proteome Dynamics at the MDC. So, a scientist in his research group, Dr. Henrik Zauber, got to work developing the tool. “We created a similar online tool before to give other researchers interactive access to mass spectrometric data,” says Zauber. Based on this experience, he says, it was relatively easy to develop a tool that visually depicts the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic in Germany. The researchers intend to expand the visualization tool as and when more detailed data becomes available.

A public service

“Of course, we cannot take responsibility for the accuracy of the data – we merely process it,” says Selbach. “We see this tool as providing a public service.” He goes on to explain that, in principle, a distinction must be made between the number of reported cases and those actually infected at any given time. How reliable the number of reported cases is depends on many factors – for example, how many people are actually tested. 

Matthias Selbach’s research group investigates the interaction of all proteins in the cell (the proteome). Cellular proteins are responsible, among other things, for cell metabolism, proliferation and survival programs, and for signaling pathways both inside and outside the cell. In the past, the team has applied this expertise to investigate which factors influence the reproduction of avian flu viruses in human cells. Selbach and his colleagues are now also planning collaborations with other researchers in order to better understand the molecular characteristics of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

This article was updated on April 22, 2020.
 

Further information

Contact

Jana Schlütter
Editor, Communications Department
Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association (MDC)
+49 (0)30 9406 2121

jana.schluetter@mdc-berlin.de or presse@mdc-berlin.de

The Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC)

 

The Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association (MDC) was founded in Berlin in 1992. It is named for the German-American physicist Max Delbrück, who was awarded the 1969 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine. The MDC's mission is to study molecular mechanisms in order to understand the origins of disease and thus be able to diagnose, prevent and fight it better and more effectively. In these efforts the MDC cooperates with the Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH ) as well as with national partners such as the German Center for Cardiovascular Research and numerous international research institutions. More than 1,600 staff and guests from nearly 60 countries work at the MDC, just under 1,300 of them in scientific research. The MDC is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (90 percent) and the State of Berlin (10 percent), and is a member of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers. www.mdc-berlin.de