Modelling Ebola in West Africa

Grant awarded: £258,922

Lead organisation: London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Partnering organisations: Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF); Save The Children; World Health Organization (WHO)

Project length: Nov-14 to Nov-15

Study locations: UK

Principal Investigator: Professor John Edmunds, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine


This project intends to fit mathematical and statistical models to the epidemiological and clinical data that are being collected and collated by partner agencies. In doing so, it will track changes in the epidemiology; analyse the impact of different countermeasures; and estimate the impact of different approaches to treat patients and control the epidemic.

Expected outcomes:

The project will help characterise the transmission dynamics of EVD, project the future course of the epidemic, and estimate the impact of alternative control policies. These models will be adapted to emerging data and to address new public health questions as they arise.

Progress and outcomes achieved:

The following milestones are completed on an ongoing basis and can be seen on the link below: Spatially explicit model; Assessment of changing epidemiology; Assessing treatment and containment options; Contextual summary of epidemic. This data is represented in an easy to read manner showing graphs, maps and projections. A paper on contextual analysis is in draft analysing the effect of stockouts, and showing how the epidemics and response evolved in SL and Liberia.

Individual-based model – they are working with a US/Italian group to refine their individual models. This can inform ring vaccination trials and ways of using vaccines in the future. There is a draft paper in progress for this area as well.

Initial vaccine evaluation – they already have a paper developed for this and this study will continue to evolve. They are working with Merck, Johnson & Johnson, and GSK, emailing case projections to them each work to inform their vaccine trials.

Dissemination is already happening on and is updated weekly according to local sitreps from the 3 countries. This has been taking place since November and shows the number of cases on interactive maps, graphs reproduction rate, and depicts projected outcomes, impact of number of beds etc. This is broken down by region and reports are sent week to MSF, SCUK, WHO, and the Cabinet Office for COBRA meetings. They get a very positive response to this data and interpretation and it is clearly having an impact.

Project Link:

R2HC Funding for Ebola Projects.  A Rapid Response

 In August 2014, the Ebola Outbreak in West Africa was declared an International Health Emergency by WHO and within a couple of weeks ELRHA launched a rapid-response call for research to combat the crisis.  The UK Department for International Development (DFID), the Wellcome Trust and ELRHA opened a special funding window through the Research for Health in Humanitarian Crises (R2HC) programme.

 The aim of this emergency call was both to produce robust research findings that could contribute to the effectiveness of the response to the current outbreak and help to draw lessons for future outbreaks of Ebola and other communicable diseases. The projects funded will strengthen the evidence base for the Ebola response in topics ranging from diagnostics to anthropology, surveillance and disease control.

Elrha is hosted by Save the Children, a registered charity in England and Wales (213890) and Scotland (SC039570).

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