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IIT-Hyderabad's new Covid tracker to predict post-Omicron scenario

The new Covid-tracking website launched by the Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad, is equipped with several capabilities, including predicting the future course of the pandemic.

The IIT-Hyderabad on Friday formally launched covid19tracker.in that has been built as an alternative to the covid19india.org website which had been set up early 2020, when the Covid pandemic struck India, and was the most popular website for such information, in addition to the Ministry website.

IIT-Hyderabad decided to develop the new site after the creators of covid19india.org had announced in August 2021 that they would no longer maintain up-to-date statistics after October 31, 2021.

Understanding the criticality of the information to Indians, including researchers, students, and the public, the Director of IIT-Hyderabad authorised a team of developers to carry on the work beyond November 1, 2021.

Prof M. Vidyasagar FRS, Distinguished Professor at IIT-Hyderabad, said: "Currently, we have gone beyond the original website by including predictions for the future course of the pandemic, generated by the SUTRA Consortium of which IIT-Hyderabad is a member. Most recently, we have included the projections for the post-Omicron scenario as well. In the future, we plan to enhance the website by including a search feature to highlight trends and raise alerts as and when required. If resources permit, we will monitor not just India but other countries as well. The emergence of the Omicron variant of concern shows that India cannot collect and monitor its data in isolation."

The website covid19tracker.in, has been built using the public code base of covid19india.org website.

Prof Bheemarjuna Reddy Tamma, Chair, Computer Centre, IITH, said, "While the front-end of our website has the same user interface as that of the original website (covid19india.org), the back-end was developed in-house by a group of enthusiastic students of IIT-Hyderabad and maintained by the staff members of Computer Center. The website has been hosted on a public cloud platform to make it highly scalable and responsive even when web traffic shoots up."

Expressing his delight on the launch, Prof B.S. Murty, Director, IIT-Hyderabad said, "This website, which will be an important resource for everyone interested in data related to the Covid-19 pandemic in India. Our site has attracted considerable traffic despite having been created so recently. In fact, we have noted that the Worldometers website for India uses just two sources -- our site, and that of MoHFW."

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