Optimal control for pandemic influenza: The role of limited antiviral treatment and isolation

Sunmi Lee, Gerardo Chowell, Carlos Castillo-Chavez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


The implementation of optimal control strategies involving antiviral treatment and/or isolation measures can reduce significantly the number of clinical cases of influenza. Pandemic-level control measures must be carefully assessed specially in resource-limited situations. A model for the transmission dynamics of influenza is used to evaluate the impact of isolation and/or antiviral drug delivery measures during an influenza pandemic. Five pre-selected control strategies involving antiviral treatment and isolation are tested under the "unlimited" resource assumption followed by an exploration of the impact of these "optimal" policies when resources are limited in the context of a 1918-type influenza pandemic scenario. The implementation of antiviral treatment at the start of a pandemic tends to reduce the magnitude of epidemic peaks, spreading the maximal impact of an outbreak over an extended window in time. Hence, the controls' timing and intensity can reduce the pressures placed on the health care infrastructure by a pandemic reducing the stress put on the system during epidemic peaks. The role of isolation strategies is highlighted in this study particularly when access to antiviral resources is limited.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)136-150
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 2010


  • Antiviral treatment
  • Influenza pandemic
  • Isolation
  • Optimal control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • Applied Mathematics


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