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Compartmental structures used in modeling COVID-19: a scoping review

Infect Dis Poverty. 2022 Jun 21;11(1):72. doi: 10.1186/s40249-022-01001-y.


BACKGROUND: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) epidemic, considered as the worst global public health event in nearly a century, has severely affected more than 200 countries and regions around the world. To effectively prevent and control the epidemic, researchers have widely employed dynamic models to predict and simulate the epidemic’s development, understand the spread rule, evaluate the effects of intervention measures, inform vaccination strategies, and assist in the formulation of prevention and control measures. In this review, we aimed to sort out the compartmental structures used in COVID-19 dynamic models and provide reference for the dynamic modeling for COVID-19 and other infectious diseases in the future.

MAIN TEXT: A scoping review on the compartmental structures used in modeling COVID-19 was conducted. In this scoping review, 241 research articles published before May 14, 2021 were analyzed to better understand the model types and compartmental structures used in modeling COVID-19. Three types of dynamics models were analyzed: compartment models expanded based on susceptible-exposed-infected-recovered (SEIR) model, meta-population models, and agent-based models. The expanded compartments based on SEIR model are mainly according to the COVID-19 transmission characteristics, public health interventions, and age structure. The meta-population models and the agent-based models, as a trade-off for more complex model structures, basic susceptible-exposed-infected-recovered or simply expanded compartmental structures were generally adopted.

CONCLUSION: There has been a great deal of models to understand the spread of COVID-19, and to help prevention and control strategies. Researchers build compartments according to actual situation, research objectives and complexity of models used. As the COVID-19 epidemic remains uncertain and poses a major challenge to humans, researchers still need dynamic models as the main tool to predict dynamics, evaluate intervention effects, and provide scientific evidence for the development of prevention and control strategies. The compartmental structures reviewed in this study provide guidance for future modeling for COVID-19, and also offer recommendations for the dynamic modeling of other infectious diseases.

PMID:35729655 | DOI:10.1186/s40249-022-01001-y

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