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Selected Publications

My work's been published in Nature, Science and The Lancet, amongst others, and cited over 17,000 times to date. You can find a full list of my publications via my Google Scholar. Below I've compiled a list of selected publications - if you want to get a better sense of what I do and how I tend to do it, this is a great place to start!  

Genomics and epidemiology of the P.1 SARS-CoV-2 lineage in Manaus, Brazil.

Faria*, Mellan*, Whittaker* et al, Science (2021)

The first report report identifying and characterising the novel SARS-CoV-2 variant Gamma. We developed a transmission-model integrating genomic and epidemiological data to provide evidence that the variant was likely more transmissible and better at evading prior-immunity than previously circulating lineages; work that contributed to updated guidance from the WHO and UKHSA Working Groups on SARS-CoV-2 variants.

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Under-reporting of deaths limits our understanding of true burden of covid-19

Whittaker*, Walker, Alhaffar et al, British Medical Journal (BMJ) (2021)

We synthesised COVID-19 mortality data from a range of different sources including official mortality statistics, cemetery burials, social media and mortuary surveillance to highlight the extensive underreporting of COVID-19 deaths that have occurred, predominantly in resource poor settings. We highlight the biased picture of the pandemic official statistics present, and how this constraints our ability to advocate for an equitable and just response to the pandemic. This work was selected for and featured on the front over of the British Medical Journal (see left).

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The impact of COVID-19 and strategies for mitigation and suppression in low- and middle-income countries

Walker*, Whittaker*, Watson* et al, Science (2020)

We integrated epidemiological, clinical and health systems data during the earliest stages of the pandemic to project the potential impact of COVID-19 worldwide and better understand where and who was likely to be most affected by SARS-CoV-2 spread. I subsequently led integration of this modelling framework into the WHO's Essential Supplies Forecasting Tool, where it has helped support pandemic healthcare planning and resource allocation in over 40 countries to date.

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Spatial and temporal fluctuations in COVID-19 fatality rates in Brazilian hospitals

Brizzi*, Whittaker*, Servo* et al, Nature Medicine (2022)

We used individual-level COVID-19 hospitalisation records across Brazil to explore the drivers underlying dramatic increases in hospital fatality rates following the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 Gamma variant. We show that these increases are driven primarily by geographic inequities in the availability and quality of healthcare capacity and highlight the impact that investments in healthcare resources can have in minimising population-wide mortality and morbidity caused by highly transmissible such as SARS-CoV-2.

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A novel statistical framework for exploring the population dynamics and seasonality of mosquito populations

Whittaker, Winskill, Sinka et al, Proceedings of the Royal Society B (2022)

Understanding the dynamics of mosquito populations underlying vector-borne disease transmission is key to optimizing control strategies. Here, we systematically explore variation in population dynamics and seasonality of anopheline mosquito populations using a novel statistical framework. We demonstrate the existence of ‘dynamical archetypes’, each with distinct temporal properties and associated with different environmental factors; in doing so, providing a generically applicable framework to better understand patterns of seasonal variation in vectors relevant to public health.

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The population biology and transmission dynamics of Loa loa

Whittaker*, Walker*, Pion et al, Trends In Parasitology (2018)

Recent work has challenged the notion that loiasis is mostly a benign disease, and underscored the material threat to public health this disease poses to the >10 million people infected across Central Africa. In this review, we systematically collated and summarised information on the key parasitological, entomological, and epidemiological characteristics of the infection and argue for the mobilisation of resources to control the disease. This work was selected for, and featured on, the front cover of the journal.

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Social contact patterns and implications for infectious disease transmission – a systematic review and meta-analysis of contact surveys

Mousa*, Winskill... & Whittaker*, eLife (2021)

Understanding patterns of social contact and mixing within populations is crucial to predict pathogen spread and the effectiveness of control efforts. Here, carried out a systematic review and meta-analysis of contact surveys carried out in low- and middle-income countries and compare patterns of contact in these settings to surveys previously carried out in high-income countries. Our results highlighted substantial differences between settings in the nature of contact patterns; differences that have material consequences for both pathogen spread and the efficacy of control measures.

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Understanding the Potential Impact of Different Drug Properties on Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) Transmission and Disease Burden: A Modelling Analysis 

Whittaker, Watson, Alvarez-Moreno et al, Clinical Infectious Diseases (2021)

The pandemic has motivated a rapid search for potential COVID-19 therapeutics - our research highlighted the benefits of advances in the treatment of COVID-19 (primarily focused on hospitalized-patients and predicated on an assumption of adequate access to supportive care) are likely to be inequitably distributed worldwide, due to existing inequities in healthcare capacity and quality. We provide evidence to support re-focussing efforts on developing therapeutics to centre around those delivered earlier in the course of infection and that reduce the need for healthcare or reduce infectiousness.

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