Bloomberg: how Wall Street quants are fighting coronavirus

Hedge fund managers, market academics and risk experts are channeling their data-mining smarts to the world of clinical sciences to model the trajectory of this once-in-a-century pandemic.

At hedge fund Atlas Ridge Capital, founder Christos Koutsoyannis is helping to launch the non-profit Covid Network, which uses advanced statistical techniques to match hospital demand with suppliers of personal protective equipment, or PPE.

He’s calling on the financial industry to share data such as cell-phone usage or satellite imagery that might help estimate the effectiveness of social distancing. “Quants might not have epidemiological experience, but the mathematical challenges are similar,” he said.

Rotella Capital Management, a 25-year-old systematic hedge fund, has developed models which parse publicly available data on virus fatalities. It’s been in contact with government agencies about the methodology, according to global head of strategic business development Dean Crowder.

“All quant funds have knowledgeable data scientists who can get involved in providing our respective government agencies and the medical professionals actionable insights to control the spread,” he said.

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More about the COVID Network: a free platform that uses real-time data for frontline participants of the COVID-19 pandemic to identify the areas of greatest medical need across the US, and distribute supplies proactively. Rolled out by the Helena Project, the COVID Network combines extensive, real-time datasets with cutting-edge predictive analytics to determine where medical needs are most urgent currently, where those needs are likely to develop next, and how those needs will evolve in the days and weeks to come.

Datasets cover the federal, state, and local levels; including those from health systems and hospital associations, academic epidemiological models, CDC information on the spread including shelter-in-place adherence, open-source predictive models, and census data on the concentration of at-risk populations. The platform will be able to track key supplies including masks, gloves, ventilators, ICU beds, and medications like hydroxychloroquine.

The COVID Network was built in just 60 hours by Helena Member Will Jack, Simon Hewat, and Rochelle Shen. The collective effort by Helena to secure PPE and build a real-time central database to understand where supplies are most urgently needed has resulted in nearly 10 million units of PPE delivered into the hands of hospitals, with tens of millions more shipped and on order as of April 20.

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