IIT-Kanpur has clarified that they have not predicted any fourth wave of coronavirus pandemic, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Dr Bharati Pravin Pawar told the Rajya Sabha. The minister also told the upper house that this study is an independent one conducted by IIT Kanpur’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics.
She said that they have prepared a mathematical model and submitted the same to a preprint server for expert comments and that this study has not been peer reviewed yet. The Union Minister further added, “Modelling studies are based on certain sets 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 added that these studies entail taking a relatively small actual sample and extrapolating the results to the entire population which, in turn, has failed to give reliable results for a large and diverse population. Dr Pawar also stated that this may give near accurate results for a small homogenous country and/or region.
“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. In addition, network of Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) of laboratories is undertaking whole genome sequencing of samples for timely detection of mutants of virus,” Dr Pawar further underscored.
She also mentioned that the ministry is providing regular technical and financial support to states and union territories to enhance preparedness and response capacities against COVID-19 and other public health emergencies. Funding support has been provided via National Health Mission, State Disaster Response Funds (SDRFs) and Emergency COVID Response and Preparedness packages.
“Regular review meetings are undertaken with all relevant stakeholders including subject experts and states to review preparedness and response measures to address COVID-19 pandemic following the five-fold strategy of test-track-treat-vaccinate and adherence to COVID appropriate behavior,” she noted towards the end of her Rajya Sabha address.
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