Modelling Pandemic Influenza

One of the research group's projects is the computational modelling of the spread of infectious respiratory diseases such as influenza. Of particular interest are strains of "pandemic" influenza such as the "Swine flu" strain of A(H1N1) influenza that originated in Mexico in 2009. Highly infectious in nature, these strains have the potential to infect a large proportion of the world population. This research programme utilises extant mathematical modelling which has had extensive application to the dynamics of other complex systems and brings together researchers with skills in epidemiology, virology, modelling and software development. We have constructed a model to capture the dynamics of pandemic influenza in an Australian urban context with population mobility patterns extracted from ABS and other data sets. The simulation model has been used experimentally, each experiment being a separate simulation run, dealing with a particular scenario which "plays out" as time passes.

Infection Tree
An infection tree showing the simulated effects of a single infected individual

Modelling Alternative Control Strategies for Pandemic Influenza

The software system developed by the research group has been successfully used to analyse the effectiveness of a range of public health interventions including school closures, workforce reductions, community contact reductions, anti-viral drugs for treatment and prophylaxis, and vaccination. We have specifically applied the simulation model to determine optimal use of limited resources such as targeting of antiviral drugs and initial supplies of vaccine. These analyses have been documented in a series of journal publications.

Current Project: Study to determine the cost effective strategies and budget impact of the use of Quadrivalent vs Trivalent Influenza Vaccines in South Africa and Vietnam. 

Funded by the World Health Organisation

Completed Project: Modelling to determine the cost effective strategies to mitigate future influenza pandemics

Research into the cost effectiveness of pandemic influenza mitigation strategies was the subject of an NHMRC Project Grant .

Related Publications