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Nigerian scientists develop online predictive model for COVID-19

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• Device foresees rise in number of infections from 131 to 161
Nigerian scientists from the Osun State University Osogbo (UNIOSUN) have developed an online forecast model for monitoring and containing Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The online predictive model was developed by Kabir M. Abdulmajeed and facilitated by Monsuru Adeleke. Abdulmajeed is currently a Sensors and Algorithms Research and Development (R&D) Specialist in the Oil and Gas Sector at the United Arab Emirates (UAE), while Monsuru Adeleke is Associate Professor of Public Health Entomology and Parasitology at the university.

The university disclosed in a statement that the breakthrough was part of its responsibilities, as management of the institution, in conjunction with some specialists, has started modeling episodes of COVID-19 in the country to provide academic thrust to guide policy makers in deployment of intervention strategies to combat the scourge.

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It noted that the predictive model was not intended to create panic but to relate possibility of upsurge or decrease in the episodes of COVID- 19 on a daily basis, as government makes efforts to control further spread of the disease.

The daily forecast is currently available on the UNIOSUN website and will be updated on weekly basis, just as the device has predicted that the country may record up to 161 confirmed cases of COVID-19 by March 31, 2020 (yesterday), an increase from 131 cases the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) reported on Mondayl, March 30, 2020.

It, however, added that the number of confirmed cases for March 31 could also be as low as 146.In a tweet, UNIOSUN noted: “This algorithm includes a set of online models, automatically adapting its parameters and updating its predictions by streaming data from reliable sources of information on the COVID-19 situation in Nigeria.

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“It is hoped that we may be able to predict an envelope on the number of cases daily by observing the trend in NCDC’s releases.

“Obviously, it is difficult to model COVID-19 (in fact, any real-life scenario is difficult to model) – the number of tests, randomness, interventions, stay-at-home compliance, curfew, epidemiological realities and other factors make forecast models in this case more difficult. This is for academic purposes”.

“There are several variables that could render the predictions inaccurate, but people should not panic. All models are wrong, but some are useful – George Box. Predictive models can help guide our policy makers in the deployment of intervention strategies. This is what we intend to achieve.”

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In March, management of Osun State University had commenced plans to enlighten members of the public on the prevention against the spread of coronavirus disease and how to stay safe.

Virologists in the Department of Microbiology on Thursday, March 19, 2020 enlightened Nigerians and answered queries on the Coronavirus disease as Dr. W.F. Sule presented a paper titled “COVID – 19: A Bird’s-Eye View Into an Intriguing Pandemic.”

Vice Chancellor, Professor Labode Popoola said, “Osun State University is not just an insitution set up to teach students alone, but we give back and enlighten the public on various issues that might have negative effects on them and care for the people by supporting them in various ways.”

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