December Monthly Meeting

In our December monthly meeting, David Hodgson, group member and PhD student at UCL, presented his current research on Modelling the impact and cost effectiveness of vaccination for Respiratory Syncytial Virus in England. Details of his talk are given below.

Modelling the impact and cost effectiveness of vaccination for Respiratory Syncytial Virus in England

Respiratory Syncytial virus (RSV) is a very common infection to which most children having been exposed by their second birthday. RSV infection causes bronchiolitis, with most cases manifesting in mild cold-like symptoms, difficulty breathing and cough lasting for up to two weeks. However, bronchiolitis in very young infants and those with particular underlying health problems such as congenital heart disease can be much more severe, resulting in hospitalisation. Currently there is no vaccine available against RSV, but there are a handful of possible candidates with licensure on the horizon. Potential vaccine target groups include infants, pregnant women and the elderly. Before a national RSV vaccine programme can commence, it will be necessary to determine whether any of the candidate vaccines can effectively reduce overall morbidity and mortality whilst remaining a cost-effective solution. Furthermore, a programme will need to ascertain which members of the population should receive any such new vaccine to ensure efficiency and reach sufficient uptake. Strategies might include targeting groups most at risk of developing complications or targeting groups involved in the transmission of the pathogens to those most at risk.

I develop a mathematical model of RSV transmission for England in order to identify the optimal vaccination strategy in the population. The model will be parameterised with data from England and will evaluate the importance of social mixing patterns on the age groups between whom the transmission of RSV is occurring. The mathematical model will be complemented by an economic evaluation to inform decision-making surrounding introducing RSV vaccine into the national vaccination programme in England. I will also use decision analysis in the form of economic evaluation. It is anticipated that the manuscript outputs of my PhD will directly inform decision-making in the UK with respect to RSV vaccination introduction.