New Omicron sub-variant was predicted by Exeter professor’s mathematical modelling
Professor Livio Fenga, from the University of Exeter Business School’s Centre for Analysis, Simulation and Models, predicted the “possible presence” of the BA.2 Omicron sub-variant in December 2021.
According to the University of Exeter, the senior lecturer’s mathematical model applied “spectral entropy, wavelet theory, feature extraction and multi-spectral imaging” to COVID-19 data released by the Italian ministry which allowed him to make his discovery of the sub-variant.
“Mathematicians have an important role to play in serving communities and tackling these real-life problems”
As of 2 February, the BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron had over 1000 confirmed cases in England. The sub-variant is being closely monitored and studies have found “higher transmissibility for BA.2 compared to BA.1”.
The University reports on Dr Fenga’s hopes that the significance of mathematical modelling in fighting COVID-19 will become more well-known, with the senior lecturer stating “throughout the pandemic we have quite rightly heard a lot from virologists, epidemiologists and doctors, but mathematicians have an important role to play in serving communities and tackling these real-life problems too.
“Analysis tools like these can be very important in anticipating the arrival of new variants, potentially saving lives by helping us to react more quickly.”
Editor: Orla Mackinnon