Mathematics is “everywhere”. And this happens whether we like it or not. In fact, they have so many applications that they even “predict and cure” diseases. This is how the biophysicist from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) explains Clara Prats, one of the physicists who has followed the evolution of the pandemic most in the world with his mathematical models. There are some examples that, as he warns, “they question because covid-19 has arranged the teams of infectious diseases and otherwise we are immune”.
Biophysicist who works in computational biology and complex systems engineering at the UPC, treating infectious diseases using computer models at the Barcelona School of Agri-Food and Biosystems.
He states that “the COVID-19” has caused the disappearance of other pathogens, such as the flu or bronchiolitis, and this has “changed the shape of the circulation of the virus”, which is why “now we have to see how the map of epidemics looks”. .
“We are still in transition and we have not returned to viral normality. The patterns we observe are not repeated every year, they are inconsistent. For example, this year both flu and bronchiolitis infections have progressed, whereas last year these bronchiolitis were promoted, but those rivers are delayed. sets an example
According to the biophysics of these changes in infection patterns, responses are sought in indicators such as the “number of susceptibles”, that is, the number of people who can be infected, among others, because “our immunity changes”.
Prats explains that they are currently working on a project to predict the evolution of tuberculosis in Africa, one of the areas affected by this disease, where strategies will try to control strategies similar to those used with COVID.
They also created a computational bronchial tree to understand how tuberculosis works inside the lungs, since only 5 to 10 percent of people who contract the TB bacillus end up sick. Similarly, in Brazil in a project to investigate Chagas disease mathematically.
Pras does not miss the “intense” level of work that both she and her team have experienced during the months with the highest incidence of the corona virus, which “have been a great challenge professionally”.
The researcher, who together with the BIOCOMSC team urged the regional, state and European governments during the pandemic, I maintain that the surveillance they are currently doing about SARS-CoV-2 is not so intensive “because there is no neutrality”.
“Some information is no longer published, such as the average number of people to whom an infected person becomes infected, the famous RT or the risk of regrowth, EPG, which mixes with the incident RT, “are internal and calculated. He makes it clear that they are not hidden, but are available to him who needs them.
“RT CVID-19, for example, is one below, which means that each infected person infects less than one person. This means we are in a stable and down period,” he said. Prats values ”positive” certain information is no longer disseminated, because “it does not give them to the mental health of the population”.
“Months ago, when the incidence was higher, it was necessary to be able to enumerate the community of people and it was necessary for each person to know what was going on through the information to understand the situation and be able to contribute to stopping the virus. Since the situation is no longer the case, it is consistent that, for example, the disease RT is not disseminated, as the flow is not disseminated because it does not fit, “he holds.
A computer expert who considers himself “old school” and prefers to use “study and paper” when it comes to basic operations, if only with a calculator out on batteries, guarantees that mathematics “is everywhere”.
“We certainly use them for more than we can imagine, surprises”, says the scientist, who recently won the Josep Trueta medal from the Generalitat with his group, and who explains that from mathematics “they can quantify, object, anticipate, predict”. and understand” diseases.
He also confirms that these number games are “the subject that generates the most fear”, because “it is difficult for us to project them into real examples and they require formalisms that are not easily used for us”.
In this sense, Prats invites us to look for areas of application that “are of all colors and of all flavors” and to discover “even the mathematics behind art or music”.