The proposal has four key objectives: a) to characterise and quantify the key factors that determine the transmission dynamics of the aetiological agent via epidemiological analysis and clinical studies of material collected from SARS patients, to develop statistical methods to estimate key parameters, and to complete retrospective epidemiological analyses of national or city based databases of the SARS epidemics in Hong Kong, Beijing, and Taiwan that capture the spatial and temporal network structure of mixing between individuals; b) to define ideal structures for case databases to facilitate rapid analysis and interpretation of epidemic trends and the impact of interventions; c) to create a mathematical framework for studying optimal control policies for directly transmitted respiratory tract infectious diseases in both local, country-wide and global contexts, to inform policy makers; d) to develop models for scenario and risk analysis to explore how best to control defined infectious disease epidemics. The proposal builds on past work with collaborators in Hong Kong which facilitated the creation of a structured database for all SARS cases in those regions and Taiwan, and the analysis day by day of the course of the epidemic and the impact of different interventions (Riley et al, Science May 23rd, 2003; Donnelly et al., Lancet, May 7th, 2003). Clinical aspects to be addressed in this proposal include: the typical course of infection in patients of different ages and with various co-morbidities; the infectiousness (level of viral shedding) of patients through time following acquisition of infection; and the distributions of incubation and infectious periods as a function of modifying factors such as age. Epidemiological aspects include the routes of transmission of the virus, and the types of contacts that resulted in transmission. Although much of the research will be focused on SARS, the overall aims include the development of a mathematical...
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