Simons Semester Conference.
For centuries infectious diseases have threathened human wellbeing (and, at the same time, heavily influenced human history, see Plagues and Peoples, W.H. McNeill, 1976). And on the reverse, the human history, political situation, social conditions are often the factors keeping the epidemics alive (see another fascinating book, The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance, L. Garret, 1994).
In the middle of the last century the World Health Organization predicted that the high days of the microbes were over. We know now how overly optimistic this has been. New infectious diseases emerge, often originating from animals. And the old-timers, like malaria and TB, are on the rise again because either the pathogen or the vector develops resistance to drugs.
Increasingly, mathematical models are used to investigate what mechanisms could lead to the observed phenomena and thus to develop the understanding needed for efficient and successful control. The aim of the workshop is to contribute to this trend, a key topic being the confrontation of models and data.
In addition the workshop will focus on the incorporation of within-host submodels into population level transmission models. Here the topics are waning of immunity, virus evolution, and multiple infections (re-infection, multiple strain dynamics, immune-system mediated interaction of different pathogens). And one of the aims is to identify open mathematical problems that arise when going beyond the simplest compartmental models.