The Mathematical Epidemiology area of expertise in the Department of Mathematics at The University of Manchester is interested in a diverse range of methodological approaches and applications to infectious and chronic disease modelling.
Mathematical Epidemiology typically involves statistical inference, data visualisation, mechanistic modelling and operational research. Calibrating models to data to understand trends and patterns is central as well as simulation of outbreaks to inform contingency planning.
We have strong links to Department of Health and Social Care and the sender organisations of the new Health Security Agency as well as other UK advisory organisations (Dstl, AWE, HSE, Ministry of Justice, ONS) and companies (IBM). Expertise in modelling/analysis of epidemics, and particularly transmission in enclosed communities, has enabled impact on both regional and national scales throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Work was delivered through direct collaboration with both national and regional bodies, and to Government via the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and UK Health Security Agency. The dominant impacts are:
- In March 2020, the timing of the first national lockdown was driven by the Unit’s modelling that identified a three-day infection doubling time, displacing the previous five-to-six day figure;
- In collaboration with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) the COVID-19 infection survey was developed and used to inform restriction tiering and national intervention decisions;
- Modelling results shaped infection control procedures for enclosed communities (notably in prisons and hospitals, but also care homes and schools), and is credited with minimising outbreak risk and saving lives;
- Modelling also underpinned hospital resource planning in the North West, which permitted elective non-COVID life-threatening work to continue, and is also credited with having saved lives.
Active projects include looking at cost effectiveness of Meningitis vaccination, evaluating workplace transmission of COVID-19 and working with ONS on the community infection survey (Funders include Wellcome Trust, NIHR, UKRI and HSE). We are very happy to engage in new exciting multidisciplinary projects.