Mathematical modelling of Covid: SPPU scientists lead team developing India-specific epidemiological model
Coronavirus has created a serious global challenge for government across the world and policy makers. It has also strained the healthcare systems worldwide to an unprecedented level. Mathematical modelling of Covid-19 and similar contagious diseases is a key component in developing effective strategies to tackle these problems, say experts.
The “Indian Scientists’ response to Covid” (ISRC), a nationwide group of leading scientists from various national research institutes and universities, is in the process of modelling the coronavirus spread in the country, among other related problems. The mathematical modelling component of the work is being led by two scientists, Dr Bhalchandra Pujari and Dr Snehal Shekatkar of the Centre for Modelling and Simulation, Savitribai Phule Pune University. Scientists from IMSc Chennai and IISc Bengaluru have also contributed to the work.
“The result of these collaborative efforts is INDSCI-SIM, an India-specific epidemiological model, that provides the most detailed approach to date. The model could be used to plan health resources and interventions at the city, district or state-level. The model also allows comparison of the effects of different types of interventions like lockdowns, quarantining, increased testings to alter the evolution of the pandemic. Importantly, it can also be used to forecast the healthcare specific questions like the number of hospital beds and ICUs that must be kept ready.” said Dr Bhalchandra Pujari.
“The model demonstrates that the extended lockdown implemented by the government has substantially reduced the spread of the virus and has brought down the potential number of casualties. The model further provides the insight that lockdowns must be complemented with the large-scale testings and quarantining of both symptomatic and asymptomatic patients to be truly effective. Apart from Covid-19, the group is looking forward to use this as a long-term process to make the country ready for any future epidemic,” he added.