Riding the waves from epidemic to endemic: Viral mutations, immunological change and policy responses

D. Grass, S. Wrzaczek, J. P. Caulkins, G. Feichtinger, R. F. Hartl, P. M. Kort, M. Kuhn, A. Prskawetz, M. Sanchez-Romero, A. Seidl

Veröffentlichungen: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftArtikelPeer Reviewed


Nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPI) are an important tool for countering pandemics such as COVID-19. Some are cheap; others disrupt economic, educational, and social activity. The latter force governments to balance the health benefits of reduced infection and death against broader lockdown-induced societal costs. A literature has developed modeling how to optimally adjust lockdown intensity as an epidemic evolves. This paper extends that literature by augmenting the classic SIR model with additional states and flows capturing decay over time in vaccine-conferred immunity, the possibility that mutations create variants that erode immunity, and that protection against infection erodes faster than protecting against severe illness. As in past models, we find that small changes in parameter values can tip the optimal response between very different solutions, but the extensions considered here create new types of solutions. In some instances, it can be optimal to incur perpetual epidemic waves even if the uncontrolled infection prevalence would settle down to a stable intermediate level.

Seiten (von - bis)46-65
FachzeitschriftTheoretical Population Biology
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - Apr. 2024

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