SUTRA Model: Eyebrows raised

SUTRA Model: Eyebrows raised

SUTRA Model: Eyebrows raised


Scientist have raised questions on the government-backed model, called SUTRA, to forecast the rise and ebb of the COVID-19 pandemic. Scientists believe that the model may have played a major role in creating the perception that a second wave of the pandemic was unlikely in India.


SUTRA stands for ‘Susceptible, Undetected, Tested (positive), and Removed Approach’

Developments and Details

  • The scientists from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur and Hyderabad have applied this model to predict the peak of COVID-19 cases.
  • SUTRA model uses three main parameters to predict the course of the pandemic: Beta or Contact rate: It measures how many people an infected person infects per day. It is related to the R-nought value, which is the number of people an infected person spreads the virus to over the course of their infection.
  • Reach: It is a measure of the exposure level of the population to the pandemic Epsilon: It is the ratio of detected and undetected cases.

Issues with SUTRA

  •  Many instances of the SUTRA forecasts being far out of bounds of the actual caseload (National Centre for Biological Science)
  •  The predictions of the SUTRA model are too variable to guide government policy.
  •  Relies on too many parameters and Recalibration done whenever the predictions are different
  •  The SUTRA model’s omission of the importance of the behaviour of the virus
  • New variants showed up in the SUTRA model as an increase in value of parameters called ‘beta’ (that estimated contact rate).
  • As far as the model is concerned, it is observing changes in parameter values. It does not care about what is the reason behind the change
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