Using theory, evidence and person-based co-development to improve infection control during COVID-19

Until a vaccine can prevent COVID-19, protective behaviours (such as social distancing, handwashing, cleaning/disinfecting) must be used to limit the spread. Germ Defence is a digital behavioural intervention developed using mixed-methods person-based research to help people improve their home hygiene and curb the spread of COVID-19. The Germ Defence project is collaboratively conducted between the universities of Bath, Bristol, Southampton and Public Health England. There are several aspects to the GermDefence project: co-design and adaptation, evaluation, and implementation.

In this talk, Ben Ainsworth will outline the evidence and theory that underpin Germ Defence, and the person-based research that was used to develop it during the swine-flu pandemic. He will then discuss the rapid UKRI-funded adaptation for the COVID-19 pandemic, conducted using novel co-participatory development methods. Finally, Ben Ainsworth will critically discuss the evaluation and implementation methods, and the challenges of doing so during a rapidly changing digital context.
Dr Ben Ainsworth is an Associate Professor in Health Psychology at the University of Bath, and study lead of Germ Defence. His research is focused on using experimental methods to understand behaviour in chronic respiratory disease, and the degree to which non-pharmacological and digital interventions can modify these behaviours.