FEATURE ARTICLES

CoVID-19 Series

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: A Mathematical Model Investigates the Differing Outcomes Among CoVID-19 Patients

Sarthak Sahoo, Siddharth Jhunjhunwala & Mohit Kumar Jolly. J Indian Inst Sci (2020). DOI:10.1007/s41745-020-00205-1. August, 2020.

The disease caused by SARS-CoV-2—CoVID-19—is a global pandemic that has brought severe changes worldwide. Approximately 80% of the infected patients are largely asymptomatic or have mild symptoms such as fever or cough, while rest of the patients display varying degrees of severity of symptoms, with an average mortality rate of 3–4%. Severe symptoms such as pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome may be caused by tissue damage, which is mostly due to aggravated and unresolved innate and adaptive immune response, often resulting from a cytokine storm. Here, we discuss how an intricate interplay among infected cells and cells of innate and adaptive immune system can lead to such diverse clinicopathological outcomes. Particularly, we discuss how the emergent nonlinear dynamics of interaction among the components of adaptive and immune system components and virally infected cells can drive different disease severity. Such minimalistic yet rigorous mathematical modeling approaches are helpful in explaining how various co-morbidity risk factors, such as age and obesity, can aggravate the severity of CoVID-19 in patients. Furthermore, such approaches can elucidate how a fine-tuned balance of infected cell killing and resolution of inflammation can lead to infection clearance, while disruptions can drive different severe phenotypes. These results can help further in a rational selection of drug combinations that can effectively balance viral clearance and minimize tissue damage.

The article is featured in Journal of the Indian Institute of Science, October 2020. To read this, log on to Springer.

Interview with Dr Mohit Kumar Jolly

Shreya Venkatesan and Akshita Mittal. Anvesha. September, 2020.

Earlier this month, Anvesha had the opportunity to interview Dr Mohit Kumar Jolly, Assistant Professor at the Centre for BioSystems, Science and Engineering, IISc Bangalore. Dr Jolly is a co-founder of IIT Kanpur’s science magazine, and continues to participate in the field of science-communication by training others in the field. He is also an associate faculty at the Centre for Society and Policy, IISc. Anvesha had the pleasure of hosting Dr Jolly for a talk on science-communication back in February of this year, which was a grand event that was very well received by the participants. The interview was conducted by Shreya Venkatesan (SV) and Akshita Mittal (AM) from BS-MS Batch ‘19. The interview was transcribed by SV, AM, and Balaram Vishnu Subramani from BS-MS Batch ‘17 at IISER TVM.

The interview is featured in Anvesha, September 2020. To read this, log on to Anvesha.

Why Reviving Midday Meals Is A Must

Anjula Gurtoo, Nidhi Sharma and Deepika Swami. Outlook Poshan. September 17th, 2020.

Over 9.12 crore underprivileged children get their daily nutrition from the midday-meal scheme, which has been disrupted by the pandemic. The pandemic has induced a food crisis (hunger, and undernutrition), especially in children from low-income families, which requires immediate attention. It further discusses case study on impact assessment of MDMS on child health and nutrition along with defining ‘Normal’ and preparedness for the post-pandemic world.

The article is featured in Outlook Poshan, September 17th, 2020. To read this, log on to poshan.outlookindia.com.

When a CoVID-19 vaccine is discovered, will it be freely available and be affordable to all?

Anjula Gurtoo and Rahul Patil. The Scroll. July 15th, 2020.

Is there a way to ensure easy and affordable access to the vaccine without trampling on the rights of the investor and the inventor?

The search for a vaccine to halt the Covid-19 pandemic is proceeding feverishly. Governments, industry and philanthropists are pouring funds into a multitude of vaccine development and manufacturing projects. Both conventional as well as less-explored technologies are being applied to develop a vaccine. At this intensity, a vaccine could be ready to take to market by mid-2021, some experts say.

The article is featured in The Scroll, on July 15, 2020. To read this, log on to scroll.in.

Criticality of Midday Meals for School Children Post CoVID-19

Deepika Swami and Anjula Gurtoo. CSP:01C/06/2020. June 19th, 2020.

Food insecurity and poor nutrition are the major challenges in developing countries, specially India. In India, 14% population is undernourished, 38% of children under five are stunted, 21% are wasted and 51% of women in their reproductive age i.e., 15-49 years are anaemic which depicts the vulnerable state of child health and nutrition in India. India’s Mid-Day Meal (MDM) scheme which is the largest school feeding program in world, has proved to be quite effective in improving the child health and nutrition by alleviating classroom hunger and fulfilling the daily dietary requirements of children.

Resolving The CoVID-19 Induced Migrant Crisis

Anjula Gurtoo (2020). CSP:02C/05/2020. May 28th, 2020.

The nationwide lockdown in India from 21 March 2020 has disproportionately impacted nearly 40 million daily waging, internal migrants. Loss of livelihood was the direct impact of the lockdown, indirectly impacting their food, health and life security. With minimal or no savings, most of them were unable to pay rent, buy food, and buy medical supplies for the ill and the elderly.

Will the CoVID-19 Pandemic Change the IP Domain for the Better?

Anjula Gurtoo and Rahul Patil (2020). The Wire. May 21st, 2020.

Several companies and universities have signed the ‘open COVID pledge‘ to encourage development of treatments and cures for COVID-19. The pledge assures researchers of access to the technology needed to mass-produce masks, ventilators and testing kits. The development of COVID-19 diagnostic kits only a few weeks after the outbreak began is an example of this global cooperation. We have also seen international cooperation in sharing medicines. Governments have also actively stepped into the patent system with discussions of compulsory licensing and creating public patent pools.

Emerging preferences in intellectual property – Lessons from the CoVID-19 crisis

Anjula Gurtoo and Rahul Patil (2020). CSP:01C/05/2020. May 11th, 2020.

The coronavirus pandemic has spurred some unusual initiatives in the intellectual property (IP) domain. The open COVID pledge by several companies and universities in order to galvanize the development of treatment and cures for COVID-19, ensures everyone has access to the technology needed to mass-produce masks, ventilators, and testing kits. Numerous recent legislative developments around the world are laying the foundation for compulsory licensing of COVID-19 related patents. The initiatives aim to improve accessibility to innovations that could play a strong part in dealing with a critical global issue. However, these global cooperation-based initiatives open the IP domain to several critical discussions.

Effective public health data sharing in the context of the CoVID-19 pandemic

Anjula Gurtoo and Inder S Gopal (2020). CSP:02C/04/2020. April 28th, 2020

The unprecedented crisis caused by COVID-19 has triggered several discussions on the long term global public health uncertainties. One of the critical resources leading the solution to these issues is Data. Experts from around the world are highlighting the criticality of publicly and privately owned health information that can be freely used, without unnecessary national or international legal restrictions on access or usage. The COVID-19 crisis has brought forth the practical benefits of sharing accurate and trusted public health and pandemic related data.

Realigning Sustainability in the Post-pandemic World

Anjula Gurtoo and Rahul Patil. TERI's Terragreen (2020). Vol. 13, Iss. 04, pp. 12-19. CSP:01C/04/2020. April 19th, 2020

As the CoVID-19 pandemic spreads into more regions, the national priorities are moving towards supporting the stretched health systems, hard-hit small business owners and the labor force working in various sectors. National governments are working overtime to ensure the availability of basics like food, water and sanitation to their population. Redistributive actions, hence, have become the focus. With the general belief that the pandemic will continue for some time, though hopefully in a minor capacity, what will sustainability look like in the post Covid19 world?

The article is featured in TERI’s TerraGreen, July 2020, Vol. 13, Iss. 04, pp. 12-19. To read this, log on to terragreen.teriin.org.

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