Filipino-German-Polish Research Group Develops Model of Coronavirus Spread

by Michelle Jeanne Caracut, OC/OPI

IN ORDER to gain valuable information that can be useful to decision-makers and governments, a research group known as the MOCOS (MOdelling COrona Spread) Group that is composed of German and Polish scientists, and Filipino scientists from MSU-IIT developed a computer model on how the novel coronavirus spreads in various countries. 

The MOCOS Group is an international interdisciplinary team of scientists founded in Wroclaw, Poland in February this year. It developed the model by basing it on the contact structures obtained directly from microcensus data such as the household structure.

Collaborating with the MOCOS Group is the MSU-IIT MOCOS Team that is led by Vice Chancellor for Research and Extension Dr. Jinky B. Bornales. The team’s external expert is Dr. Wolfgang Bock of Germany’s University of Kaiserslautern who was a visiting professor of MSU-IIT.

The MSU-IIT MOCOS team runs computer simulations of the spread of the virus using the individual SIR model, one of the compartmental models that are a technique used to simplify the mathematical modeling of infectious disease. 

The team has been running simulations for Region X. Results of these simulations assist the local government units in deciding whether the community quarantine should be lifted or extended. 

The MSU-IIT MOCOS Team submitted to the Iligan City Government its research entitled: MOCOS Case Study for the Gradual Lifting of the ECQ in Iligan City, Philippines.

The Iligan City Government used it as one of its references for the issuance of its Executive Order No. 40, Series of 2020, re: Declaring the Entire City of Iligan Under Modified Community Quarantine [MCQ] and Providing for its Guidelines by the Office of the City Mayor.

In the MSU-IIT MOCOS Team case study, the team recommended the following:

  • gradual lifting of the ECQ;
  • for schools and other establishments where large groups gather to remain closed; 
  • resumption of operation of work and essential businesses and transport services but alternative work arrangements, strong social distancing, wearing of face masks, and good sanitary practices should be strictly implemented; and
  • for restaurants and fast food centers to remain on delivery or drive-through mode.

(Click this link for the full report of the  MOCOS case study for the gradual lifting of ECQ in Iligan City, Philippines: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1pFBlARQ3G0sL1DtSmJ8H6oBJUgQe3FAg/view?usp=sharing)

In another MSU-IIT MOCOS Team study entitled: MOCOS Case Studies for Iligan City, Ph the team’s research results show how the detection rate in massive testing and reduction of human contact influence the dynamics of the pandemic. (Check this link for the full report on the MOCOS Case Studies for Iligan City, PH: https://drive.google.com/file/d/12JC2FYCwHN6SPFEEOLmulSh3bMafxaYv/view?usp=sharing)

According to the MSU-IIT MOCOS Team, what is special with these simulations is that it takes into account the household and family structure of the Filipinos.

“It is important to note that it takes only one infection to infect a close-knit household, which is typical for a Filipino household. This factor is very important for projections, which are usually the basis for policy makers,” said the team.

Simulations specifically for MSU-IIT were also conducted in the research study entitled: MOCOS Case Study for the Opening of MSU-IIT, Iligan City, PH. The results of this study were used as one of the bases for the Institute to continue the suspension of regular work and classes.

This research is the third report by the MSU-IIT MOCOS Team. The case study said that opening the campus to students “can lead to a super-spreading event, if not combined with strict hygiene and social distancing measures, which reduce the number of secondary infections.” 

This is because the contact rate for students at the Institute is higher than in the rest of the population due to teaching in classrooms and laboratories, the report explained.

See the full report at https://drive.google.com/file/d/14e2uHBNPiAhEDFSU8FXzF7oQjDmFJn4m/view?usp=sharing.

The MSU-IIT MOCOS Team comprises eight faculty members from various departments of the College of Science and Mathematics and research groups of the Premier Institute of Science and Mathematics (PRISM): Prof. Jinky B. Bornales, PhD (Team Leader); Prof. Daisy Lou L. Polestico, PhD and Prof. Randy L. Caga-anan, PhD (Co-Team Leaders); Assoc. Prof. Dante D. Dinawanao; Asst. Prof. John Alfred M. Liwanag; Asst. Prof. Johniel E. Babiera; Asst. Prof. Jennifer Joyce M. Montemayor; and Asst. Prof. Cresente O. Cabahug (Members).

For updates on MOCOS COVID-19 related studies and reports, click this link:  https://mocos.pl/index_polski.html

Topics : MOCOS  COVID-19  coronavirus