Infectious Disease Forecast Center prevents diseases and deaths caused by a wide range of infectious diseases. These centers help to identify and divide the population into Susceptible, Infected and Removed (cured or dead) compartments and use mathematical equations with various biological and physical parameters to move people between these boxes. Such models are beneficial to predict outcomes and what-if scenarios of the future evolution of an infectious disease. These models are known as SIR(Susceptible-Infected-Removed) or SEIR (Susceptible-Exposed-Infected-Removed) models. Such models were used in the decision-making process in outbreaks like SARS, Ebola, and H1N1. This model is a mathematical model which can simulate the effects of the disease at many levels, ranging from how the disease influences the interactions between cells in a single patient (within-host models) to how it spreads across several geographically separated populations (metapopulation models)
The predictions made by such models are not always correct due to the continuous intervening factors and changes. However, these are the valuable tools to measure requirements for equipment, masks, and other pharmaceuticals’ needs. India has great weather and climate prediction system and forecast centers, but not a proper Infectious Forecast Disease Center is to be seen, the ones available are disoriented. In this time, where the COVID-19 pandemic is still underway with no sign to stop, there is an urgent need for a dedicated Infectious Disease Forecast Center. In a recent report by John Hopkins University, some guidelines to establish an Infectious Forecast Disease Center (IDFC) that will effectively connect to public health decisions were suggested. But the current approach of calling on the academic and other communities to assist with the IDF in the middle of an outbreak has severe limitations.
In order to cover a nation as diverse as India, capacity building to have qualified IDF experts must recognize the diverse climate regimes, population mixes, and local infectious diseases. Climate vulnerabilities of neighboring countries are taken as a threat to India. Similarly, there is a need to take health vulnerabilities also seriously. By long-term funding and collaborations between disease modelers and public health workers are needed within and outside India. According to the JHU report, in this time of the outbreak, the team working Infectious Forecast Disease Center should identify, analyze and evaluate new models, with best practices, non-pharmaceutical interventions, and data visualizations.