Thesis Proposal Review: Modelling respiratory infections to optimise benefits of pharmaceutical interventions in low- and middle-income settings

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The prioritisation of COVID-19 vaccines remains a pertinent question as global supply of vaccines remain limited. At the same time, oral antiviral COVID-19 treatments are newly becoming available. Vaccines and antivirals provide two pharmaceutical alternatives for reducing the morbidity and mortality associated with COVID-19. There has been extensive mathematical modelling of COVID-19 in high-income countries (HIC), however there is limited published literature in low- or middle- income countries (LMIC). COVID-19 outcomes from HIC cannot be generalised to LMIC due to differences in demographics, contact patterns, and prevalence of comorbidities.

This Thesis will examine common drivers of successful pharmaceutical interventions against respiratory illnesses in LMIC. We explore the impact and evaluate the cost-effectiveness of these interventions under different levels of coverage, and age-, dose- or risk-specific prioritisation. Our work currently focuses on two main diseases: COVID-19 and pneumococcal disease. This research will support in-country partners with evidence-based decision making, and support humanitarian advocacy efforts.


Gizem BilginGizem Bilgin (she/her) is a PhD candidate in infectious disease modelling. Her research works to combine applied mathematics, health economics and epidemiology. In addition to her doctoral studies, she is currently supporting the ACT’s COVID-19 Outbreak response. In her spare time, you will find her learning how to brew coffee in new ways and attempting Winter gardening in Canberra. Please reach out to Gizem ( with any questions or recommendations.