New Mathematical Model for Ebola Can Help Save Lives

Ryerson and York University have published a joint research news release about work conducted by LIAM members. Dr. Xi Huo talks about how a new mathematical model may save more lives during an Ebola outbreak. The scientific journal, Treatment-donation-stockpile dynamics in Ebola convalescent blood transfusion therapy, will appear in the March 2016 issue of the Journal of Theoretical Biology.

Convalescent blood transfusion, a historic treatment that has been widely used in the pre-antibiotic era (1890s to 1930s), refers to the treatment that transfuses convalescent blood product from survivors to ill patients. As an emerging infectious disease, there was no proven medication or vaccine available during the 2014-2015 West Africa Ebola outbreak. World Health Organization (WHO) suggested that convalescent blood transfusion was the only treatment option for Ebola during the outbreak, hence an interim blood collection and transfusion plan was initiated. We used publicly available infection data and the WHO’s blood transfusion therapy guideline to inform the optimal strategies for large-scale use of this treatment. We concluded that the case fatality ratio of Ebola could be significantly reduced by optimizing treatment strategy during an Ebola outbreak.

Figure Caption: Dynamics of the Blood Transfusion Service