As many as ten premier research institutions have been allotted funds to study mathematical modelling for Covid-19 and help provide the most probable estimate for the future transmission of the virus in the country.
The mathematical models are crucial as they help policymakers to make informed decisions to combat the disease based on the most probable scenarios. While several scientific groups have been trying to model the spread of Covid-19, their projections have largely varied.
“These studies will primarily aim to study the current Indian conditions and will provide an estimate of Basic Reproduction Number- the qualitative indicator of the degree of contagiousness of the disease. This can help us take rational decisions on management of the disease," said one of the scientists from the Department of Science and Technology (DST).
The department has finalized eleven projects for the first phase, which are being carried out by mathematicians and theoretical scientist groups from IIT Kanpur, IIT Guwahati, IIT Kharagpur, IIT Roorkee, IIT Bhilai, Jadavpur University, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Thiruvanathapuram, VIT University, Chennai and Symbiosis International University.
The mathematicians would attempt to propose simulation models which could account for various factors that determine the transmission rate of Covid-19 in India including heterogeneity of population, socio-economic factors, migration trends, and impact of quarantine, social distancing measures and the lockdown. They teams also hope to study the asymptomatic population on the spread of the disease to give clues about the real magnitude of the pandemic.
The emerging new data would be fed into the basic Susceptible-Infected-Recovered (SIR) models, which are basically used to study diseases which are directly transmitted by infected individuals, than through a vector to provide transmission estimates.
The proposed studies would study the impact of preventive issues especially the lockdown and the adopted testing strategies through a parametric prediction process and devise a packaged solution in the form of usable software which may be made available for ready use by the government for planning future strategy.
Some teams would also try to identify possible cure of Covid-19 through the study of DNA structures by creating patterns of DNA of different viruses.
The projects have been awarded by the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), a statutory body of the DST under its MATRICS scheme for studying Mathematical modelling and computational aspects to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.
This data would be useful in disease modelling and forecasting of future pandemics as well as the management of other infectious diseases.