Mathematical modelling of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in low- and middle-income countries: A systematic review

Alex Mezei, Jamie Cohen, Matthew J. Renwick, Jessica Atwell, Allison Portnoy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Due to high burden of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC), international funding organizations have prioritized the development of RSV vaccines. Mathematical models of RSV will play an important role in assessing the relative value of these interventions. Our objectives were to provide an overview of the existing RSV modelling literature in LMIC and summarize available results on population-level effectiveness and cost-effectiveness. Methods: We searched MEDLINE from 2000 to 2020 for English language publications that employed a mathematical model of RSV calibrated to LMIC. Qualitative data were extracted on study and model characteristics. Quantitative data were collected on key model input assumptions and base case effectiveness and cost-effectiveness estimates for various immunization strategies. Findings: Of the 283 articles reviewed, 15 met inclusion criteria. Ten studies used modelling techniques to explore RSV transmission and/or natural history, while eight studies evaluated RSV vaccines and/or monoclonal antibodies, three of which included cost-effectiveness analyses. Six studies employed deterministic compartmental models, five studies employed individual transmission models, and four studies used different types of cohort models. Nearly every model was calibrated to at least one middle-income country, while four were calibrated to low-income countries. Interpretation: The mathematical modelling literature in LMIC has demonstrated the potential effectiveness of RSV vaccines and monoclonal antibodies. This review has demonstrated the importance of accounting for seasonality, social contact rates, immunity from prior infection and maternal antibody transfer. Future models should consider incorporating individual-level risk factors, subtype-specific effects, long-term sequelae of RSV infections, and out-of-hospital mortality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100444
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Low- and middle-income countries
  • Mathematical modelling
  • Respiratory syncytial virus
  • Systematic review
  • Vaccine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology


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