CaHRU Improvement Science and Research Methods seminar by Dr Zahid Asghar: Mathematical modelling of epidemics

The March improvement science and research methods seminar, Using Track and Trace data to model the early phase of Covid-19 Epidemic in Lincolnshire. Empirical evidence for the rule of six, was given by Dr Zahid Asghar on 23rd March.

Dr Zahid Asghar is a Mathematical Modeller and a Medical Statistician based in the Medical School. He is the Director of Postgraduate Studies for the School of Health and Social Care. He leads Big Data Analytics team as part of CaHRU and LIIRH. Zahid also leads Prehospital Emergency Quality and Outcomes (PEQO) group as part of CaHRU. His research aims to improve understanding of the epidemiological factors and population processes shaping infectious or chronic disease spread in humans. A key practical focus of his research is optimisation of intervention strategies aimed at reducing mortality and morbidity through mathematical and statistical modelling aiding policy making in the context of public health.

In epidemiology transmission dynamics of infectious disease agents are captured well by random networks in the early phase of the epidemic. In this seminar Zahid showed how track and trace data can be used to calculate critical network components, path lengths (chains of transmission) of infection and age-gender mixing patterns, how these measures complement the basic reproduction number (the number of secondary cases one case would produce in a completely susceptible population). Detailed contact tracing data for the rural county of Lincolnshire was used  to quantify risk factors of infection and model disease spread on random networks. Subcritical branching processes (<1)  was used to capture the stochastic nature of local transmission dynamics in early phase (Tier 2 UK). A negative binomial model was used for the branching processes and also the for statistical regression models to calculate the Incident Rate Ratios (IRRs).

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