Closely following Covid trajectory globally: Govt
New Delhi, Mar 22 (PTI) Noting that various mathematical models meant for predicting coronavirus waves have repeatedly failed to give reliable results due to a small sample size, the Centre on Tuesday said it is closely following the virus trajectory globally, given the emergence of its new variants.
In a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for Health Bharati Pravin Pawar further said the network of Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) of laboratories is undertaking whole genome sequencing of samples for a timely detection of the mutant variants of the virus.
On whether researches at the Indian institutes of technology (IITs) have predicted a fourth wave of the pandemic in the country between June and August, she said the IIT Kanpur has clarified that it has not forecast a fourth wave of COVID-19.
It is an independent study conducted by a team of researchers from the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at the institute that has prepared a mathematical model and submitted the same to a pre-print server for experts to comment. The same is not peer-reviewed, Pawar said.
Modelling studies are based on a certain set of inputs either based on real-world scenarios or approximations of those inputs that are not available (which may vary in accuracy according to the technique used), she stated.
“Often these studies involve taking a relatively small actual sample and extrapolating the result to the entire population. While this may achieve near accurate results for a small homogenous country or region, such techniques have failed repeatedly to give reliable results for a large, diverse population,” the minister said.
“Given the emergence of variants of COVID-19 virus with variable transmissibility and other public health implications, Union Ministry of Health is closely following COVID-19 trajectory globally and in the country, along with various expert committees,” she added.
Listing the preparatory steps, Pawar said the ministry provides the requisite technical and financial support to the states and Union territories to enhance preparedness and response capacities against Covid and other public health emergencies.
Funding support has been provided to the states for health system strengthening to meet any exigency due to a resurgence of cases in the country through the National Health Mission (NHM), the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) and Emergency COVID-19 Response and Preparedness packages.
Regular review meetings are undertaken with all the relevant stakeholders, including subject experts and the states, to review the preparedness and response measures to address the pandemic, following the five-fold strategy of test-tack-treat-vaccinate and adherence to COVID-appropriate behaviour, the minister said.