Critically Hybrid Epidemics

Date: 6 April 2017

Time: 14:00 – 15:00

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Many real epidemics in nature and society are hybrid epidemics, where more than one spreading mechanisms are used simultaneously.

Recently, Shi Zhou, UCL, along with colleagues, studied the critically hybrid epidemics [1], where each of the spreading mechanisms is ineffective but the combination of them generates a significant outbreak.

They studied two distinct examples: the outbreak of computer worm Conficker on the Internet in 2008 [2] and the infection of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in the human body [3].

In this talk, Shi will discuss how this work highlights the possibility to produce a highly infectious epidemic by combining simple, ineffective spreading mechanisms. It will explain the difficulty in eliminating critically hybrid epidemics such as Conficker and HIV, and outline calls for new strategies to fight against such epidemics.

1. Zhang, C., Zhou, S., Miller, J.C., Cox, I.J., Chain, B.M. (2015). Optimizing Hybrid Spreading in Metapopulations. Scientific Reports, 5 (9924). doi:10.1038/srep09924

2. Zhang, C., Zhou, S., Chain, B.M. (2015). Hybrid epidemics – A case study on computer worm Conficker. PLoS ONE, 10 (5). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0127478

3. Zhang, C., Zhou, S., et al (2015). Hybrid Spreading Mechanisms and T Cell Activation Shape the Dynamics of HIV-1 Infection. PLoS Computational Biology, 11 (4). doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1004179