Coupled models of genomic surveillance and evolving pandemics with applications for timely public health interventions

Baltazar Espinoza, Aniruddha Adiga, Srinivasan Venkatramanan, Andrew Scott Warren, Jiangzhuo Chen, Bryan Leroy Lewis, Anil Vullikanti, Samarth Swarup, Sifat Moon, Christopher Louis Barrett, Siva Athreya, Rajesh Sundaresan, Vijay Chandru, Ramanan Laxminarayan, Benjamin Schaffer, H. Vincent Poor, Simon A. Levin, Madhav V. Marathe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Disease surveillance systems provide early warnings of disease outbreaks before they become public health emergencies. However, pandemics containment would be challenging due to the complex immunity landscape created by multiple variants. Genomic surveillance is critical for detecting novel variants with diverse characteristics and importation/emergence times. Yet, a systematic study incorporating genomic monitoring, situation assessment, and intervention strategies is lacking in the literature. We formulate an integrated computational modeling framework to study a realistic course of action based on sequencing, analysis, and response. We study the effects of the second variant’s importation time, its infectiousness advantage and, its cross-infection on the novel variant’s detection time, and the resulting intervention scenarios to contain epidemics driven by two-variants dynamics. Our results illustrate the limitation in the intervention’s effectiveness due to the variants’ competing dynamics and provide the following insights: i) There is a set of importation times that yields the worst detection time for the second variant, which depends on the first variant’s basic reproductive number; ii) When the second variant is imported relatively early with respect to the first variant, the cross-infection level does not impact the detection time of the second variant. We found that depending on the target metric, the best outcomes are attained under different interventions’ regimes. Our results emphasize the importance of sustained enforcement of Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions on preventing epidemic resurgence due to importation/emergence of novel variants. We also discuss how our methods can be used to study when a novel variant emerges within a population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2305227120
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number48
StatePublished - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


  • COVID-19 variants
  • biosurveillance
  • coupled dynamics
  • epidemic modeling
  • pandemics


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