The novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 causes a severe, potentially fatal acute respiratory syndrome, COVID-19, that has paralyzed our societies, leading to prolonged self-isolation and quarantine. Indeed, COVID-19 is a major threat to humans, with alarming levels of spread and death tolls. The WHO situation report published on 30 March 2020 estimated that confirmed cases were almost 700 000, with more than 33 000 deaths. Being that COVID-19 is a global threat, tackling the pandemic requires a global effort involving not only all countries, but also the scientific community at large, across all fields and disciplines.
This call invites the Control Community to contribute from different perspectives to the fight against COVID-19, including the development of appropriate theoretical foundations of epidemiology that may impact the response to future outbreaks of viral or bacterial infections. Several new data sets conveying either epidemiological or clinical information are being made available daily; however, fast data integration at different levels is needed.
Modeling and control insight can be crucial to explain and predict the complex dynamics of the disease evolution, and to devise the best strategies to contain the contagion and treat COVID-19 patients. Containing the virus is a mixed discrete-continuous control problem under multiple objectives. Besides various uncertainties, social and economic costs need to be considered in the control strategies.
Our control community can contribute to the solution of several problems, using our technical tools. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:
COVID-19 transmission networks for the different affected countries.
Social networks, social interactions and their effect in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Control strategies on complex networks to mitigate and prevent the spread of the infection.
Nonlinear observers and parameter estimation to predict a global situation from data-driven models of the pandemic.
In-host models, representing the interactions between the virus and the immune system, to be used as computational tools to evaluate new therapies.
Algorithms to differentiate genetic and epigenetic factors in pandemic diseases.
Control of ventilators in intensive care patients, as well as fast industrial development of ventilators.
How to allocate available human and physical resources to achieve optimal patient outcomes.
Owing to the severity of COVID-19, this call will be divided into two Special Sections:
COVID-19 is the first special section to appear in the ARC October 2020 issue. COVID-19 - deadline is 30 June 2020 – In this first deadline we request “Fast Solutions” into how control systems methods and practice can impact our response to COVID-19.
PANDEMICS is the second special section to appear in the ARC April 2021 issue. PANDEMICS - deadline is 31 December 2020 – In the second deadline we request medium/long term solutions for COVID-19 pandemic as well control theoretical approaches that help us in future pandemics.
All manuscripts will be peer-reviewed before their acceptance for publication.
Esteban A. Hernandez-Vargas
Institute of Mathematics, UNAM, Mexico & Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies, Germany
University of Trento, Italy
Northeastern University, USA
University of Canterbury, New Zealand
Victor M. Preciado
University of Pennsylvania, USA
College of Engineering Kookmin University, South Korea