Steven Riley in front of formulae

The Centre has been at the forefront of delivering timely analysis to inform policy responses to emerging infectious disease threats. Since the Centre’s establishment in 2008, Centre staff have undertaken collaborative real-time epidemiological analysis and modelling of many important outbreaks/epidemics including: the H1N1 influenza pandemic, the MERS-CoV outbreak, the Zika epidemics, and the Ebola outbreaks in West Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Both during and between these intensive efforts, we prioritize:

  1. Developing responsive and statistically robust pipelines for outbreak analysis. Considerable effort is put into developing analytical pipelines capable of being rapidly adapted to each new outbreak and then used repeatedly with each data update;
  2. Improving timely risk assessment and outbreak forecasting. We continue to develop methods for increasingly rapid assessment of outbreak severity (CFR and likely spread) from spatiotemporally disaggregated incidence data, and for improving short- to medium-term forecasting of epidemic trajectories;
  3. Assessing the impacts of outbreak responses. This ongoing research theme has both retrospective and predictive aspects. Some projects estimate what the impact of particular control policies was in the past, while some predict what a range of possible interventions would be in the future or would have been had they been implemented in the past. Modelling is particularly well suited to answering such ‘what if’ questions;
  4. Improving spatiotemporal transmission models. We are working toward a fully integrated inference and prediction framework for geographically explicit individual-based stochastic simulations for real-time use for epidemic prediction and intervention assessment;
  5. Modelling emergence risk and prophylactic vaccination impact. We are developing geospatial models to understand the risk of zoonotic spillover for Lassa and Yellow Fever and to assess the potential impact of targeted vaccination;
  6. Building research networks. Outbreak analysis and modelling is increasingly a collective effort, with other UK and international centres making major contributions. We actively collaborate at all scales from working with individual researchers based elsewhere to championing formal networks linking centres of excellence.