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Brookline Teenager Named A Top 300 Scholar In 2023 Regeneron Science Talent Search

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Alex Jin, 18, of Brookline, MA, a senior at Boston University Academy, was named a top 300 scholar in the 2023 Regeneron Science Talent Search, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious science and math competition for high school seniors.

A total of 1,949 students around the country entered the competition this year. In recognition of this achievement, each scholar will receive $2,000.

Alex’s project is titled “A SEIRD+V Model for the Effect of Vaccination and Social Distancing on SARS-CoV-2 Infection and Mortality.”

The top 40 finalists will be announced on January 24, 2023.

An abstract of Jin’s project follows.

“Respiratory viral pandemics have occurred repeatedly over recent decades, including Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-1) in 2002 – 2004, H1N1 influenza in 2009, Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in the 2012 and again in 2019, and SARS-CoV-2 since 2019.

While attempts at preparedness have been made, public health infrastructure in multiple countries have been inadequate to meet the challenges of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Modeling epidemics allows for quantifiable, anticipatory planning prior to pandemic occurrence and for policy adaptation during a pandemic itself. I created an epidemiological model (SEIRD), including vaccine efficacy, the vaccination rate of the population, degrees of social distancing, and a thresholding metric to understand the stringency required from these parameters to achieve a pre-specified target for peak infection percentage and total mortality in a population.

For example, if policy makers aim to limit peak infection rate in a community to 5%, what goals should they have for vaccination rate, social distancing, etc.?

This study advances knowledge in its representation of multiple public policy tools in an integrated analytic model and in its flexibility to allow modification of critical parameters to achieve utility for future pandemics.”