Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

How should countries best respond to a flu pandemic?

27.04.2006


Researchers have predicted how effective public health and medical interventions will prove in the event of an influenza pandemic.



The letter published today in Nature shows how the team from Imperial College London, John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and RTI International used computer modelling to predict how a variety of interventions, including travel restrictions, school closures and antiviral treatment, would affect the spread of flu.

Professor Neil Ferguson from Imperial College London, who led the research, said: “The modelling shows there is no single magic bullet which can control a flu pandemic, but that a combination of interventions could be highly effective at reducing transmission, potentially saving many lives.”


The research shows that border restrictions are unlikely to delay the spread of influenza by more than a few weeks unless they are more than 99 percent effective. Restricting travel within a country is predicted to have an even more limited impact on slowing spread of a pandemic within that country.

The modelling predicts that a pandemic in the UK will peak within two to three months of the first case, and be over within four months. “Speed of response is therefore essential”, says Professor Ferguson.

The modelling shows the number of people getting ill in a pandemic could be halved if school closure was combined with using antiviral drugs not just for treating cases (as is currently planned), but also to treat people in the same household as cases. The impact would be even greater if people in the same households as cases also voluntarily stayed at home. School closures on their own are predicted to have a minor impact on overall case numbers, but might slow the epidemic enough to reduce peak demand on health care resources by as much as 40 percent.

It also shows that vaccines need to be available within two months of the start of a pandemic to have a big effect in reducing infection rates. With current manufacturing methods, this means vaccines would need to be stockpiled in advance. This could significantly reduce the numbers infected even if the vaccine wasn’t perfectly matched to the virus which emerges. A vaccine stockpile sufficient to vaccinate 20 percent of the population could reduce case numbers by a third if children were vaccinated within a few weeks of the start of a pandemic. Combining pre-vaccination with household prophylaxis could reduce case numbers by two thirds.

The supercomputer model simulated pandemic spread in Great Britain and the United States, using detailed data on population density and demographics, together with data on human travel patterns.

Tony Stephenson | alfa
Further information:
http://www.imperial.ac.uk

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures
17.11.2017 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

nachricht High speed video recording precisely measures blood cell velocity
15.11.2017 | ITMO University

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>