A Better Shot at Immunization

Jul 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: The unifying framework of symmetry reveals properties of a broad range of physical systems

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Scientists sleuth out proteins involved in Crohn's disease

Jul 17, 2014

(Phys.org) —University of Delaware researchers have identified a protein, hiding in plain sight, that acts like a bodyguard to help protect and stabilize another key protein, that when unstable, is involved ...

No bioengineered gut bacteria, no glory

May 12, 2014

The motto "no guts, no glory" may need rewriting if Rice University synthetic biologist Jeff Tabor succeeds in his quest to help the Navy create an edible probiotic bacterium that can help protect sailors ...

Bone marrow-on-a-chip unveiled

May 05, 2014

The latest organ-on-a-chip from Harvard's Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering reproduces the structure, functions and cellular make-up of bone marrow, a complex tissue that until now could ...

Recommended for you

What time is it in the universe?

Aug 29, 2014

Flavor Flav knows what time it is. At least he does for Flavor Flav. Even with all his moving and accelerating, with the planet, the solar system, getting on planes, taking elevators, and perhaps even some ...

Watching the structure of glass under pressure

Aug 28, 2014

Glass has many applications that call for different properties, such as resistance to thermal shock or to chemically harsh environments. Glassmakers commonly use additives such as boron oxide to tweak these ...

Inter-dependent networks stress test

Aug 28, 2014

Energy production systems are good examples of complex systems. Their infrastructure equipment requires ancillary sub-systems structured like a network—including water for cooling, transport to supply fuel, and ICT systems ...

Explainer: How does our sun shine?

Aug 28, 2014

What makes our sun shine has been a mystery for most of human history. Given our sun is a star and stars are suns, explaining the source of the sun's energy would help us understand why stars shine. ...

User comments : 3

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.