Sapio Umbrella, a group of researchers, innovators, data scientists, civil servants, economic experts, epidemiologists, and business leaders, has created an algorithm to ensure India is ready to do accurate mass-testing of COVID-19 in its preparation for the next phase of the virus. The group is working closely with government bodies in India to help them take decisions using its unique data driven decision support system.
This group is managed and run by Sapio Analytics, a company headquartered in Mumbai with presence in London and California. Some of the names associated with the group are former civil servant and startup mentor Sanjeeva Shivesh, Col. (Dr.) Ram Athavale, who has been a key government advisor to the Government of India on CBRN Security and Incident Management, Lt. Col. Suunil Narula, a war veteran and Military Intelligence ex-officer, Dr. Rahul Bhargava, a leading oncologist, Mr. Prashant Nikam, a civil servant in the Indian Railways, Avinash Kalia, a veteran financial professional and venture capitalist, among others.
Data scientists Kiranmayi Rane and Arpit Palod have worked on this algorithm that can give region-wise hyperlocal recommendations on how to administer testing on the residents of the region, both symptomatic and asymptomatic. It is expected that high density areas like Dharavi implement the system on priority.
“We understand that we have a limited number of testing kits to be able to test a large population of India. But we need to be ready for Community Testing. It’s great to see companies like MyLab bringing test kits to various parts of India. But effective execution can only happen if there is a well-designed plan to administer tests in a structured manner by creating batches of samples using optimal mixing. The extent of such mixing and the entire flowchart of the next steps is what the algorithm talks about. It uses basic concepts of mathematics in the specific context of the region”, says Ashwin Srivastava, CEO of Sapio Analytics.
India has stepped up its testing, and ICMR has recently allowed CSIR labs to start conducting COVID-19 tests. CSIR is India’s premier national research and development organization which operates a network of over 38 laboratories across the country. Though mass testing using antibodies-testing is being done commonly, this algorithm focuses on other accurate testing methods that use nasal swabs.