Johns Hopkins pulls out of Corona study PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 28 March 2020 00:00
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The study by R Laxminarayan – he heads CDDEP – on 300 million Indians likely to be infected by the Coronavirus by July got embroiled in further controversy, with the prestigious Johns Hopkins University dissociating itself from a March 24 release by CDDEP. This release said the Centre for Disease Dynamics Economics and Policy (CDDEP) study was done in association with Johns Hopkins. In a tweet, Johns Hopkins said, “The use of our logo was not authorized in this case and JHU is engaging with CDDEP on it”.

While Laxminarayan had given out these numbers in interviews to the Indian media, on March 24, the purported joint study claimed 190 million Indians would be infected at the peak of the Covid 19 pandemic in India in the ‘medium’ scenario—the most likely scenario with moderate to full compliance with the current lockdowns in place but no change in the virulence of the pathogen (SARS CoV-2) or its sensitivity to temperature/humidity.

The disputed new study, put out the day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the 21-day national lockdown, claims that the projections are based on the India SIM model that “describes the actual Indian population in full detail of demography (age, gender), location, socio-economic characteristics and access to healthcare”. The release also claims that the model has been used by the National Technical Advisory Group for Immunisation.

The release lists Eili Klein, assistant professor of emergency medicine at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, who is also associated with CDDEP, as the lead author.

While the five of the six authors (including Klein and Ramanan) have associations with CDDEP, Gary Lin, who is part of Johns Hopkins Medicine’s Center for Data Science in Emergency, is the only one who is not mentioned as having ties to CDDEP.

Interestingly, a report by ICMR researchers and the Imperial College UK had done some modelling for big metros like Delhi a few weeks ago – before India locked down completely – and had come out with ratios of the likely infections that lent credence to the CDDEP estimates. In the case of Delhi, in a worst-case scenario – no effective lockdown and social distancing and high rate of transmission – the number of those infected could be as high as 10 million, or roughly half the population of Delhi. This number comes down to 2 lakh in the case of effective quarantining/isolation and social distancing.


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