Unexpected Infection Spikes in a Model of Respiratory Syncytial Virus Vaccination

Vaccines (Basel). 2017 May 18;5(2):12. doi: 10.3390/vaccines5020012.


Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is an acute respiratory infection that infects millions of children and infants worldwide. Recent research has shown promise for the development of a vaccine, with a range of vaccine types now in clinical trials or preclinical development. We extend an existing mathematical model with seasonal transmission to include vaccination. We model vaccination both as a continuous process, applying the vaccine during pregnancy, and as a discrete one, using impulsive differential equations, applying pulse vaccination. We develop conditions for the stability of the disease-free equilibrium and show that this equilibrium can be destabilised under certain extreme conditions, even with 100% coverage using an (unrealistic) vaccine. Using impulsive differential equations and introducing a new quantity, the impulsive reproduction number, we showed that eradication could be acheived with 75% coverage, while 50% coverage resulted in low-level oscillations. A vaccine that targets RSV infection has the potential to significantly reduce the overall prevalence of the disease, but appropriate coverage is critical.

Keywords: Respiratory Syncytial Virus; impulsive reproduction number; infection spikes; mathematical model; vaccination.