Sensitivity Analysis in an Immuno-Epidemiological Vector-Host Model

Hayriye Gulbudak, Zhuolin Qu, Fabio Milner, Necibe Tuncer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Sensitivity Analysis (SA) is a useful tool to measure the impact of changes in model parameters on the infection dynamics, particularly to quantify the expected efficacy of disease control strategies. SA has only been applied to epidemic models at the population level, ignoring the effect of within-host virus-with-immune-system interactions on the disease spread. Connecting the scales from individual to population can help inform drug and vaccine development. Thus the value of understanding the impact of immunological parameters on epidemiological quantities. Here we consider an age-since-infection structured vector-host model, in which epidemiological parameters are formulated as functions of within-host virus and antibody densities, governed by an ODE system. We then use SA for these immuno-epidemiological models to investigate the impact of immunological parameters on population-level disease dynamics such as basic reproduction number, final size of the epidemic or the infectiousness at different phases of an outbreak. As a case study, we consider Rift Valley Fever Disease utilizing parameter estimations from prior studies. SA indicates that 1 % increase in within-host pathogen growth rate can lead up to 8 % increase in R, up to 1 % increase in steady-state infected host abundance, and up to 4 % increase in infectiousness of hosts when the reproduction number R is larger than one. These significant increases in population-scale disease quantities suggest that control strategies that reduce the within-host pathogen growth can be important in reducing disease prevalence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number27
JournalBulletin of mathematical biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2022


  • Basic reproduction number
  • Immuno-epidemiological model
  • Multi-scale model
  • Rift valley fever
  • Sensitivity analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Immunology
  • General Mathematics
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Environmental Science
  • Pharmacology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


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