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

Grass, D., Wrzaczek, S., Caulkins, J.P., Feichtinger, G., Hartl, R.F., Kort, P.M., Kuhn, M., Fürnkranz-Prskawetz, A., et al. (2024). Riding the waves from epidemic to endemic: Viral mutations, immunological change and policy responses. Theoretical Population Biology 156 46-65. 10.1016/j.tpb.2024.02.002.

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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.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: COVID-19; Dynamic optimization; SIR models; Vaccinations
Research Programs: Advancing Systems Analysis (ASA)
Advancing Systems Analysis (ASA) > Exploratory Modeling of Human-natural Systems (EM)
Economic Frontiers (EF)
Population and Just Societies (POPJUS)
Population and Just Societies (POPJUS) > Social Cohesion, Health, and Wellbeing (SHAW)
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Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2024 08:48
Last Modified: 12 Feb 2024 13:21
URI: https://pure.iiasa.ac.at/19481

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