A Better Shot at Immunization

July 16, 2008

A new immunization strategy could reduce the vaccine doses needed to protect a population from disease (and reduce the antivirus updates required to protect a network of computers) by as much as 50%.

The immunization scheme was developed by a collaboration of physicists from Boston University, Bar-Ilan University in Israel, and Stockholm University. It's similar to previous strategies that focus on immunizing the most highly connected people (or computers) first.

The more connections you have to neighbors, coworkers, customers, and relations, the more vital it is to make sure you don't catch the disease and pass it on to your many contacts. Once the most highly connected people are protected, it's time to move to the next most highly connected people, and so on down the list. The benefit of the technique is that only a fraction of the population has to be vaccinated in order to quash an epidemic.

The innovation in the new immunization strategy focuses on using the connections among a network of people to assign them to a number of small, but equally sized groups. Then people in each group are immunized based on their connections within the group. The equipartioning is key - other immunization methods tend to be less efficient because they overemphasize immunizations of small clusters of individuals relative to larger clusters. That can't happen if population is divided up so that all the clusters are the same size.

The physicists confirmed the effectiveness of their scheme by simulating infections on various populations, including an Internet-based computer network and a network of Swedish workers and their families compiled by the Swedish government. The need for immunization was reduced by 5% to 50% in each of the networks, significantly lowering the potential expense and time that it would take to protect populations and networks from contagious infections.

Citation: Yiping Chen, Gerald Paul, Shlomo Havlin, Fredrik Liljeros, and H.Eugene Stanley
Physical Review A (forthcoming, a PRL Editors' Suggested paper)

Source: APS

Explore further: Blood-brain barrier on a chip sheds new light on 'silent killer'

Related Stories

Upward mobility boosts immunity in monkeys

November 24, 2016

The richest and poorest Americans differ in life expectancy by more than a decade. Glaring health inequalities across the socioeconomic spectrum are often attributed to access to medical care and differences in habits such ...

Immune system uses gut bacteria to control glucose metabolism

November 14, 2016

Researchers at Oregon State University and other institutions have discovered an important link between the immune system, gut bacteria and glucose metabolism—a "cross-talk" and interaction that can lead to type 2 diabetes ...

HIV expert's studies yielding insights into diseases of aging

November 30, 2016

While AIDS originally was seen as an adaptive immune disease, the research of Alan Landay, PhD, has contributed to a view of it as a cell driven-inflammation linked to immunosenescence—the gradual deterioration of the immune ...

Recommended for you

Researchers improve qubit lifetime for quantum computers

December 8, 2016

An international team of scientists has succeeded in making further improvements to the lifetime of superconducting quantum circuits. An important prerequisite for the realization of high-performance quantum computers is ...

A nano-roundabout for light

December 8, 2016

Just like in normal road traffic, crossings are indispensable in optical signal processing. In order to avoid collisions, a clear traffic rule is required. A new method has now been developed at TU Wien to provide such a ...

Electron highway inside crystal

December 8, 2016

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their ...

3 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Mercury_01
not rated yet Jul 17, 2008
I got a better immunization strategy: Stop injecting all that f***ing poison into our kids and find a better dilivery system than that formaldahyde coctail. I personally know of 2 kids whos lives have been ruined by immunizations. one is autistic and one is almost totally brain dead. both were healthy and happy untill age 2 when they recieved multiple shots of TOXIC SUBSTANCES.
lowbatteries
not rated yet Jul 20, 2008
You personally know of 2 kids whose lives have been ruined by vaccines? How many kids do you know who's lives have been saved? How many kids do you know who don't have polio? Smallpox? Measles? Mumps?

The is the same mentality which makes people afraid of terrorists but they don't buckle up their seatbelt while driving - the extroardinary outways the every day occurence, against all logic.

Mercury_01
not rated yet Jul 21, 2008
The government poisoning children IS an everyday occurance. Every person in history that has recieved these immunizations has been effected negatively. You included. I said nothing of curing diseases, nor of the vaccenes themselves. Im talking about the delivery system. go back and read it again.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.