A new mathematical model introduced in the USA predicts virus mutations. Researchers are confident that it will enable governments around the world to take measures to contain viruses.
A new mathematical model developed by researchers at Princeton University and Carnegie Mellon University tracks epidemics by considering their mutations. Now scientists are working on its application to give medical workers the opportunity to see the consequences of various countermeasures and to assess in advance whether they will work or not.
“Our model allows us to predict all types of measures – quarantine, isolation of people, closure of schools and government agencies. The model can show how they will affect the spread of the epidemic, even when the pathogen mutates as it spreads”, said Vincent Pur, Dean of the Princeton Department of Engineering.
The models used to track epidemics typically use data from doctors and healthcare providers – this predicts the further spread of the disease. Pur notes that the most widely used model is not designed to account for changes in the virus. This failure to account for mutations can complicate the task of countering the spread of disease. Researchers are confident that their modeling will allow authorities to make the right decisions more often.
Scientists want to calculate the maximum number of variations of measures for different cases of the spread of the virus. In their article, they describe how their model is able to track changes in the spread of the epidemic caused by a mutation in the pathogen. Scientists are now working on adapting the model to reflect public health measures taken to contain epidemics.