Interactions of COVID-19 & Influenza: New Research Project Approved

  • 06/24/2020

Note: This is an automated translation (using DeepL) of the original German article.

CIDS - Concurrent Infectious Disease Simulation - is the name of the latest research project of dwh GmbH. Project partners in this project (COVID-19 Emergency-Call), which is funded by the FFG, are DEXHELPP, the Technical University of Vienna and the Health University UMIT in Tyrol.

With the help of our simulation models and public health evaluations, we want to gain a better understanding of the complex dynamics between the two infectious diseases in order to get an idea of what we can expect next winter in Austria.

The aim of the project is to model and simulate the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and the associated COVID-19 diseases with respect to interactions with competing infectious diseases. In a first step, the connection between COVID-19 and influenza will be analysed.

Three aspects are in the foreground here:

  • the mapping of synergetic effects of measures and interventions on both diseases,
  • the mutual influence of contact processes on the one hand and patient pathways on the other, and
  • the interaction and effects on the infrastructure, resources and other process-relevant variables of the health care system (capacity utilization or limits and overload)

The analysis and simulation tool should pay special attention to severe cases (severe or critical) requiring medical care (hospitalization and/or ICU) and thus may lead to the strain and potentially also to the overloading of the health care system. In order to prevent this, different strategies are to be examined for their effects. Furthermore, the simulation allows to analyse and compare different treatment paths & therapies (as soon as available), vaccination strategies and measures.

The project will enable a fast, unproblematic simulation of COVID-19 and competing disease waves (e.g. influenza) in Austria. The project will allow for a different regional granularity as well as the analysis of the feasibility for other EU countries.

Thus we can support the short-term prediction of disease waves based on available data as well as the short-term evaluation of measures against an expected disease wave, especially vaccination strategies. Furthermore, the project supports the long-term strategic planning of infrastructure and development of pandemic influenza plans based on scenario assessments, as well as the evaluation of disease outbreaks and the public health impact of interventions.