Modelling: Understanding pandemics and how to control them

Glenn Marion, Liza Hadley, Valerie Isham, Denis Mollison, Jasmina Panovska-Griffiths, Lorenzo Pellis, Gianpaolo, Scalia Tomba, Francesca Scarabel, Ben Swallow, Pieter Trapmann, Daniel Villela


• Disease challenges, societal needs, and new data demand better modelling tools.

• To better support ethical public health policy, modelling must adequately account for variation across host populations.

• Disease transmission modelling must better account for human behaviour and social structure at multiple scales.

• Further challenges include modelling: contact tracing; data collection; pathogen diversity; and within-host dynamics.

• Epidemiological modelling must be more open and transparent to engender public trust.


New disease challenges, societal demands and better or novel types of data, drive innovations in the structure, formulation and analysis of epidemic models. Innovations in modelling can lead to new insights into epidemic processes and better use of available data, yielding improved disease control and stimulating collection of better data and new data types. Here we identify key challenges for the structure, formulation, analysis and use of mathematical models of pathogen transmission relevant to current and future pandemics.

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