Neil M. Ferguson's research while affiliated with Imperial College London and other places

Publications (300)

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Background Evidence to date has shown that inequality in health, and vaccination coverage in particular, can have ramifications to wider society. However, whilst individual studies have sought to characterise these heterogeneities in immunisation coverage at national level, few have taken a broad and quantitative view of the contributing factors to...
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Background: Understanding the characteristics and natural history of novel pathogens is crucial to inform successful control measures. Japan was one of the first affected countries in the COVID-19 pandemic reporting their first case on 14 January 2020. Interventions including airport screening, contact tracing, and cluster investigations were quic...
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Background The infection fatality ratio (IFR) is a key statistic for estimating the burden of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and has been continuously debated throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The age-specific IFR can be quantified using antibody surveys to estimate total infections, but requires consideration of delay-distributions from time...
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Background The emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 Alpha variant in England coincided with a rapid increase in the number of PCR-confirmed COVID-19 cases in areas where the variant was concentrated. Aim Our aim was to assess whether infection with Alpha was associated with more severe clinical outcomes than the wild type. Methods Laboratory-confirmed inf...
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Since its emergence in 2019, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has caused hundreds of millions of cases and continues to circulate globally. To establish a novel SARS-CoV-2 human challenge model that enables controlled investigation of pathogenesis, correlates of protection and efficacy testing of forthcoming intervention...
Preprint
Several vaccines candidates are in development against Middle East respiratory syndrome–related coronavirus (MERS-CoV), which remains a major public health concern. Using individual-level data on the 2013-2014 Kingdom of Saudi Arabia epidemic, we employ counterfactual analysis on inferred transmission trees (“who-infected-whom”) to assess potential...
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To study the trade-off between economic, social and health outcomes in the management of a pandemic, DAEDALUS integrates a dynamic epidemiological model of SARS-CoV-2 transmission with a multi-sector economic model, reflecting sectoral heterogeneity in transmission and complex supply chains. The model identifies mitigation strategies that optimize...
Preprint
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Background: Evidence to date has shown that inequality in health, and vaccine coverage in particular, can have ramifications to wider society. However, whilst individual studies have sought to characterise these heterogeneities in immunisation coverage at national level, few have taken a broad and quantitative view of the contributing factors to he...
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Background: A rapid increase in coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases due to the omicron (B.1.1.529) variant of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 in highly vaccinated populations has aroused concerns about the effectiveness of current vaccines. Methods: We used a test-negative case-control design to estimate vaccine effectivene...
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Background The omicron variant (B.1.1.529) of SARS-CoV-2 has demonstrated partial vaccine escape and high transmissibility, with early studies indicating lower severity of infection than that of the delta variant (B.1.617.2). We aimed to better characterise omicron severity relative to delta by assessing the relative risk of hospital attendance, ho...
Preprint
Background Understanding the characteristics and natural history of novel pathogens is crucial to inform successful control measures. Japan was one of the first affected countries in the COVID-19 pandemic reporting their first case on 14 January 2020. Interventions including airport screening, contact tracing, and cluster investigations were quickl...
Preprint
Vaccines have played a central role in mitigating severe disease and death from COVID-19 in the past 12 months. However, efficacy wanes over time and this loss of protection is being compounded by the emergence of the Omicron variant. By fitting an immunological model to population-level vaccine effectiveness data, we estimate that neutralizing ant...
Preprint
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Introduction: Over the past two decades, vaccination programmes for vaccine-preventable diseases (VPDs) have expanded across low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). However, the rise of COVID-19 resulted in global disruption to routine immunisation (RI) activities. Such disruptions could have a detrimental effect on public health, leading to more...
Preprint
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Background A rapid increase in cases due to the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant in highly vaccinated populations has raised concerns about the effectiveness of current vaccines. Methods We used a test-negative case-control design to estimate vaccine effectiveness (VE) against symptomatic disease caused by the Omicron and Delta variants in En...
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Background: As of August 2021, every region of the world has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with more than 196,000,000 cases worldwide. Methods: We analysed COVID-19 cases among travellers from mainland China to different regions and countries, comparing the region- and country-specific rates of detected and confirmed cases per flight volu...
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Introduction The success of case isolation and contact tracing for the control of SARS-CoV-2 transmission depends on the accuracy and speed of case identification. We assessed whether inclusion of additional symptoms alongside three canonical symptoms (CS) - fever; cough; loss or change in smell or taste – could improve case definitions and acceler...
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While mathematical models of disease transmission are widely used to inform public health decision-makers globally, the uncertainty inherent in results are often poorly communicated. We outline some potential sources of uncertainty in epidemic models, present traditional methods used to illustrate uncertainty and discuss alternative presentation fo...
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Background: Phase III trials have estimated COVID-19 vaccine efficacy (VE) against symptomatic and asymptomatic infection. We explore the direction and magnitude of potential biases in these estimates and their implications for vaccine protection against infection and against disease in breakthrough infections. Methods: We developed a mathematic...
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Background The SARS-CoV-2 delta (B.1.617.2) variant is highly transmissible and spreading globally, including in populations with high vaccination rates. We aimed to investigate transmission and viral load kinetics in vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals with mild delta variant infection in the community. Methods Between Sept 13, 2020, and Sept...
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Background England's COVID-19 roadmap out of lockdown policy set out the timeline and conditions for the stepwise lifting of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) as vaccination roll-out continued, with step one starting on March 8, 2021. In this study, we assess the roadmap, the impact of the delta (B.1.617.2) variant of SARS-CoV-2, and potentia...
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Background: Hospitals in England have undergone considerable change to address the surge in demand imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The impact of this on emergency department (ED) attendances is unknown, especially for non-COVID-19 related emergencies. Methods: This analysis is an observational study of ED attendances at the Imperial College He...
Article
Background: As of August 2021, every region of the world has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with more than 196,000,000 cases worldwide. Methods: We analysed COVID-19 cases among travellers from mainland China to different regions and countries, comparing the region- and country-specific rates of detected and confirmed cases per flight volu...
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Background Since its emergence in Autumn 2020, the SARS-CoV-2 Variant of Concern (VOC) B.1.1.7 (WHO label Alpha) rapidly became the dominant lineage across much of Europe. Simultaneously, several other VOCs were identified globally. Unlike B.1.1.7, some of these VOCs possess mutations thought to confer partial immune escape. Understanding when and...
Preprint
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Background: England's COVID-19 'roadmap out of lockdown' set out the timeline and conditions for the stepwise lifting of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) as vaccination roll-out continued. Here we assess the roadmap, the impact of the Delta variant, and potential future epidemic trajectories. Methods: We extended a model of SARS-CoV-2 transm...
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The UK and Sweden have among the worst per-capita COVID-19 mortality in Europe. Sweden stands out for its greater reliance on voluntary, rather than mandatory, control measures. We explore how the timing and effectiveness of control measures in the UK, Sweden and Denmark shaped COVID-19 mortality in each country, using a counterfactual assessment:...
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Background In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, governments across the globe have imposed strict social distancing measures. Public compliance to such measures is essential for their success yet the economic consequences of compliance are unknown. This is the first study to analyse the effects of good compliance compared to poor compliance to a CO...
Preprint
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Background Phase III trials have estimated COVID-19 vaccine efficacy (VE) against symptomatic and asymptomatic infection. We explore the direction and magnitude of potential biases in these estimates and their implications for vaccine protection against infection and against disease in breakthrough infections. Methods We developed a mathematical mo...
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In February and March 2020, two mass swab testing campaigns were conducted in Vo’, Italy. In May 2020, we tested 86% of the Vo’ population with three immuno-assays detecting antibodies against the spike and nucleocapsid antigens, a neutralisation assay and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). Subjects testing positive to PCR in February/March or a sero...
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Background: The multiple efficacious vaccines authorised for emergency use worldwide represent the first preventative intervention against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) that does not rely on social distancing measures. The speed at which data are emerging and the heterogeneities in study design, target populations, and implementation make it...
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Background: Sanofi-Pasteur’s CYD-TDV is the only licensed dengue vaccine. Two phase III trials showed higher efficacy in seropositive than seronegative recipients. Hospital follow-up revealed increased hospitalisation in 2-5-year-old vaccinees, where serostatus and age effects were unresolved. Methods: We fit a survival model to individual-level da...
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Background: Vaccination is one of the most effective public health interventions. We investigate the impact of vaccination activities for Haemophilus influenzae type b, hepatitis B, human papillomavirus, Japanese encephalitis, measles, Neisseria meningitidis serogroup A, rotavirus, rubella, Streptococcus pneumoniae, and yellow fever over the years...
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We fitted a model of SARS-CoV-2 transmission in care homes and the community to regional surveillance data for England. Compared with other approaches, our model provides a synthesis of multiple surveillance data streams into a single coherent modelling framework allowing transmission and severity to be disentangled from features of the surveillanc...
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Yellow fever virus (YFV) is a zoonotic arbovirus affecting both humans and non-human primates (NHP’s) in Africa and South America. Previous descriptions of YF’s seasonality have relied purely on climatic explanations, despite the high proportion of cases occurring in people involved in agriculture. We use a series of random forest classification mo...
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State space models, including compartmental models, are used to model physical, biological and social phenomena in a broad range of scientific fields. A common way of representing the underlying processes in these models is as a system of stochastic processes which can be simulated forwards in time. Inference of model parameters based on observed t...
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The SARS-CoV-2 lineage B.1.1.7, designated a Variant of Concern 202012/01 (VOC) by Public Health England1, originated in the UK in late Summer to early Autumn 20202. Whole genome SARS-CoV-2 sequence data collected from community-based diagnostic testing shows an unprecedentedly rapid expansion of the B.1.1.7 lineage during Autumn 2020, suggesting a...
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Objective: To measure the effects of the tier system on the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK between the first and second national lockdowns, before the emergence of the B.1.1.7 variant of concern. Design: This is a modelling study combining estimates of real-time reproduction number Rt (derived from UK case, death and serological survey data) with p...
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Cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection in Manaus, Brazil, resurged in late 2020, despite previously high levels of infection. Genome sequencing of viruses sampled in Manaus between November 2020 and January 2021 revealed the emergence and circulation of a novel SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern. Lineage P.1, acquired 17 mutations, including a trio in the spike...
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Background The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has placed enormous strain on intensive care units (ICUs) in Europe. Ensuring access to care, irrespective of COVID-19 status, in winter 2020–2021 is essential. Methods An integrated model of hospital capacity planning and epidemiological projections of COVID-19 patients is used to estima...
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The worldwide endeavour to develop safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines has been extraordinary, and vaccination is now underway in many countries. However, the doses available in 2021 are likely to be limited. We extended a mathematical model of SARS-CoV-2 transmission across different country settings to evaluate the public health impact of potent...
Preprint
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The worldwide endeavour to develop safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines has been extraordinary, and vaccination is now underway in many countries. However, the doses available in 2021 are likely to be limited. We extended a mathematical model of SARS-CoV-2 transmission across different country settings to evaluate the public health impact of potent...
Preprint
Full-text available
Cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection in Manaus, Brazil, resurged in late 2020, despite high levels of previous infection there. Through genome sequencing of viruses sampled in Manaus between November 2020 and January 2021, we identified the emergence and circulation of a novel SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern, lineage P.1, that acquired 17 mutations, includi...
Preprint
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Contact tracing, where exposed individuals are followed up to break ongoing transmission chains, is a key pillar of outbreak response for many infectious disease outbreaks, such as Ebola and SARS-CoV-2. Unfortunately, these systems are not fully effective, and cases can still go undetected as people may not know or remember all of their contacts or...
Preprint
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Objective: Measure the effects of the Tier system on the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK between the first and second national lockdowns, before the emergence of the B.1.1.7 variant of concern. Design: Modelling study combining estimates of the real-time reproduction number Rt (derived from UK case, death and serological survey data) with publicly avai...
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In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, countries have sought to control SARS-CoV-2 transmission by restricting population movement through social distancing interventions, thus reducing the number of contacts. Mobility data represent an important proxy measure of social distancing, and here, we characterise the relationship between transmission and...
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The spatial dynamics of epidemics are fundamentally affected by patterns of human mobility. Mobile phone call detail records (CDRs) are a rich source of mobility data, and allow semi-mechanistic models of movement to be parameterised even for resource poor settings. While the gravity model typically reproduces human movement reasonably well at the...
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Background: Understanding the drivers of SARS-CoV-2 transmission is crucial for control policies but evidence of transmission rates in different settings remains limited. Methods: We conducted a systematic review to estimate secondary attack rates (SAR) and observed reproduction numbers (Robs) in different settings exploring differences by age,...
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A Correction to this paper has been published: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2956-7.
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Following initial declines, in mid 2020 a resurgence in transmission of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) occurred in the US and Europe. As COVID19 disease control efforts are re-intensified, understanding the age demographics driving transmission and how these affect the loosening of interventions is crucial. We analyze aggregated, age-specific...
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Background The past two decades have seen expansion of childhood vaccination programmes in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs). We quantify the health impact of these programmes by estimating the deaths and disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) averted by vaccination against ten pathogens in 98 LMICs between 2000 and 2030. Methods 16 i...
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Background: Planning for extreme surges in demand for hospital care of patients requiring urgent life-saving treatment for COVID-19, while retaining capacity for other emergency conditions, is one of the most challenging tasks faced by health care providers and policymakers during the pandemic. Health systems must be well-prepared to cope with lar...
Preprint
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We fitted a model of SARS-CoV-2 transmission in care homes and the community to regional surveillance data for England. Among control measures implemented, only national lockdown brought the reproduction number below 1 consistently; introduced one week earlier it could have reduced first wave deaths from 36,700 to 15,700 (95%CrI: 8,900–26,800). Imp...
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In the last 20 years yellow fever (YF) has seen dramatic changes to its incidence and geographic extent, with the largest outbreaks in South America since 1940 occurring in the previously unaffected South-East Atlantic coast of Brazil in 2016–2019. While habitat fragmentation and land-cover have previously been implicated in zoonotic disease, their...
Preprint
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Deaths due to vaccine preventable diseases cause a notable proportion of mortality worldwide. To quantify the importance of vaccination, it is necessary to estimate the burden averted through vaccination. The Vaccine Impact Modelling Consortium (VIMC) was established to estimate the health impact of vaccination. We describe the methods implemented...