By Mohamad Hamze
Almost immediately after the onset of a virulent infectious disease, scientists and pathologists fly out of the gates to discover how to best treat and mitigate the outbreak. Professor Eva Lee and other members of Georgia Tech’s Center for Operations Research in Medicine and Healthcare hope that a new breakout model can provide resources that will facilitate surveillance, containment, and treatment of future pandemics. Named “ASSURE,” the model has been demoed with data from recent Zika outbreaks in Brazil and takes the form of a “computational modeling tool” – consolidating genetic, social, and environmental factors in order to determine ideal methods of treatment and mitigation. In the example of the Zika outbreak in Brazil, the system has been able to recommend containment methods that involve preventing mosquitos from biting rather than simply employing insecticides in attempts to kill them, which can have negative environmental effects.
ASSURE – which has so far been sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Science Foundation – also exhibits the potential to predict high-risk areas for future outbreaks and mechanisms for prompt and effective vaccination efforts. Lee, who has extensive experience with front-line public health efforts around the world, hopes that her model can not only facilitate policymaking and public compliance with containment efforts, but also determine the most cost- and resource-effective prevention, surveillance, and control methods going forward.
Georgia Institute of Technology. (2017, February 19). Adaptable model recommends response strategies for Zika, other pandemics: Model predicts 20 percent compliance rate will reduce infections by half. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 26, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170219165113.htm