Math Biosci Eng. 2023 Jan 12;20(3):5379-5412. doi: 10.3934/mbe.2023249.
The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has been spreading worldwide for over two years, with millions of reported cases and deaths. The deployment of mathematical modeling in the fight against COVID-19 has recorded tremendous success. However, most of these models target the epidemic phase of the disease. The development of safe and effective vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 brought hope of safe reopening of schools and businesses and return to pre-COVID normalcy, until mutant strains like the Delta and Omicron variants, which are more infectious, emerged. A few months into the pandemic, reports of the possibility of both vaccine- and infection-induced immunity waning emerged, thereby indicating that COVID-19 may be with us for longer than earlier thought. As a result, to better understand the dynamics of COVID-19, it is essential to study the disease with an endemic model. In this regard, we developed and analyzed an endemic model of COVID-19 that incorporates the waning of both vaccine- and infection-induced immunities using distributed delay equations. Our modeling framework assumes that the waning of both immunities occurs gradually over time at the population level. We derived a nonlinear ODE system from the distributed delay model and showed that the model could exhibit either a forward or backward bifurcation depending on the immunity waning rates. Having a backward bifurcation implies that $ R_c < 1 $ is not sufficient to guarantee disease eradication, and that the immunity waning rates are critical factors in eradicating COVID-19. Our numerical simulations show that vaccinating a high percentage of the population with a safe and moderately effective vaccine could help in eradicating COVID-19.
PMID:36896550 | DOI:10.3934/mbe.2023249