Program leader: A/Prof James Wood
A/Prof Anthony Newall, Prof Raina MacIntyre, A/Prof Heather Gidding, Ms Valentina Costantino,Dr Duleepa Jayasundara.
Mathematical modelling has played an important role in describing and evaluating impacts of immunisation, particularly in terms of the herd immunity effects from vaccines in childhood. In simple terms, mathematical models in this context use systems of equations implemented in computer code to describe the dynamics of infection in populations and how these change when interventions such as vaccination are applied.
In elderly populations, we need to account for herd immunity effects from both childhood and adult vaccination programs and give more attention to the heterogeneity in disease risks that accumulate throughout adulthood. Here we are drawing on the extensive data-linkage studies being conducted by UNSW-VIRL to account for changing risk by age and health risk status and using models to provide inputs for cost-effectiveness evaluations and as key information for policy makers.
The modelling team at UNSW-VIRL is proud of its applied focus and direct connection with immunisation policy. We also have a strong focus on novel methodological research regarding the effects of demographic change, pathogen genetics and immunological processes on disease dynamics. With ageing populations, the role of immunosenescence in disease risks in the elderly and changing pathogen profiles in relation to influenza and pneumococcal disease, all of these are important elements for future policy relevant models to capture.