A conceptual model for optimizing vaccine coverage to reduce vector-borne infections in the presence of antibody-dependent enhancement

Biao Tang, Xi Huo, Yanni Xiao, Shigui Ruan, Jianhong Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Many vector-borne diseases co-circulate, as the viruses from the same family are also transmitted by the same vector species. For example, Zika and dengue viruses belong to the same Flavivirus family and are primarily transmitted by a common mosquito species Aedes aegypti. Zika outbreaks have also commonly occurred in dengue-endemic areas, and co-circulation and co-infection of both viruses have been reported. As recent immunological cross-reactivity studies have confirmed that convalescent plasma following dengue infection can enhance Zika infection, and as global efforts of developing dengue and Zika vaccines are intensified, it is important to examine whether and how vaccination against one disease in a large population may affect infection dynamics of another disease due to antibody-dependent enhancement. Methods: Through a conceptual co-infection dynamics model parametrized by reported dengue and Zika epidemic and immunological cross-reactivity characteristics, we evaluate impact of a hypothetical dengue vaccination program on Zika infection dynamics in a single season when only one particular dengue serotype is involved. Results: We show that an appropriately designed and optimized dengue vaccination program can not only help control the dengue spread but also, counter-intuitively, reduce Zika infections. We identify optimal dengue vaccination coverages for controlling dengue and simultaneously reducing Zika infections, as well as the critical coverages exceeding which dengue vaccination will increase Zika infections. Conclusion: This study based on a conceptual model shows the promise of an integrative vector-borne disease control strategy involving optimal vaccination programs, in regions where different viruses or different serotypes of the same virus co-circulate, and convalescent plasma following infection from one virus (serotype) can enhance infection against another virus (serotype). The conceptual model provides a first step towards well-designed regional and global vector-borne disease immunization programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number13
JournalTheoretical Biology and Medical Modelling
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 3 2018


  • Antibody dependent enhancement
  • Dengue
  • Mathematical modelling
  • Optimized vaccination strategies
  • Zika

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Health Informatics


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