Projecting the evolution of the number of Covid-19 cases can be crucial for control the pandemic and a group of scientists may be able to do this in Africa. A surveillance tool is able to create a database to predict how the disease situation in every country on the continent.

Steven Schiff, Professor of Engineering at Penn State University in Pennsylvania, United States, began applying the system he created to screen for viral diseases in 2020, when the first case of Covid-19 was identified in Egypt, this was still the first time. that the positive diagnosis was given in a country in Africa.


Covid-19 in Africa

After more than a year of work, the survey results were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in late June. To understand the evolution of the pandemic, scientists base themselves on the cases of other countries, the local population, economy and control plans against the spread of the virus.

“When the Covid-19 pandemic started, we had this unusual team of scientists working hard to implement P3H in Africa and we thought we could do a lot to fight this new virus,” explained Schiff.

“You need real-time information collected about the virus, such as testing and blocking, as well as other influencing factors, such as the varied economic security of different countries and their health systems. Our strategy synthesizes all of this data across Africa to make surprisingly good projections of the expected number of cases based on how these factors interact and influence the transmission of Covid in the population,” he added.

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“In September and October 2020, at the height of the Covid cases, the model projected an increase in cross-border cases, prompting the government to close our border. We had fewer cases than projected because we were able to mitigate a predicted source that was well captured in the model,” said Abraham JB Muwanguzi, another author of the research.

As projections on Covid-19 provided by the group to Uganda helped the African country to deal with the pandemic, managing to acquire more medical supplies and avoiding a greater hospital burden. The next steps are to expand the methods to other countries.

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