Andreas Grothey and Ken McKinnon have set up a Covid-19 related optimization model
Andreas Grothey and Ken McKinnon have set up an optimization model that finds the optimal Covid-19 intervention strategy for Scotland. This is achieved by considering the options of lockdown and contact tracing for different assumed parameters of the effectiveness of the tracing scheme. For this they fitted an extended SEIR model of disease dynamics to the publicly available data on Covid-19 hospital admissions. The model then finds the optimal control strategy (severity of lockdown, number of contacts traced) for every day until the assumed availability of a vaccine. They found that tracing can play an important role in containing the disease for reasonable assumptions on the effectiveness of tracing, even if only a small number of tracers are available. If effective, tracing can be many times more cost efficient than measures such as lockdown and will help decrease the severity of any imposed lockdown. The research is ongoing and they are currently supervising two MSc students are looking at the impact of uncertainty (e.g. if, and when, a vaccine might be available and what degree of protection will be offered by it) on the optimal control strategy.
More information can be found here: https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.06.11.20128173v1