COVID-19 Response

Research Themes:

HE2RO, in collaboration with Boston University, has been integrally involved in building the National COVID-19 Epi Model (NCEM) from the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in South Africa. Led by Gesine Meyer-Rath, Brooke Nichols and Lise Jamieson, the HE2RO modelling and costing teams have been working with the National Department of Health (NDoH) and National Treasury to aid decision making around the Covid-19 response as part of the Minister of Health’s Advisory Committee (MAC) and the NDoH Modelling Consortium. We  are one of the three lead modelling groups (HE2RO, SACEMA, MASHA) working on the epidemiologic model with NICD. In order to serve as the main source of COVID-19 epidemic forecasts for the South African Government, the model should be updated regularly with new data and scientific results.

South Africa has the highest number of HIV cases in the world with a substantial cohort of TB cases. The emergence of COVID-19 in South Africa is likely to have a disproportionate impact on our vulnerable HIV and TB populations, particularly in those who are not virally suppressed or not on ART. TB patients may be especially vulnerable because of  the impact the coronavirus has on lung function. Current data shows that the rate of serious infection and mortality from COVID-19 is highest in older populations with pre-existing co-morbidities.

At HE2RO, we are working on a number of projects to assist the NDOH’s response to the COVID-19 crisis that our country is currently facing through modelling and costing. We are also contributing towards developing and populating a predictive model on COVID-19 that will take into account the impact on HIV and TB vital for estimating resource allocation and budget impact at  national and provincial level.

As we move towards a maintenance phase of COVID-19, the cost effectiveness and budget impact of current and novel treatments will be needed to plan for future funding of COVID-19 services and interventions. HE2RO is building on the work conducted using the epi modelling and cost inputs to include economic evaluations of remdesivir and other novel interventions. Importantly this would also include developing a modelling and budget impact analysis of a COVID-19 vaccine that will consider the cost-effectiveness of different distribution mechanisms (e.g. focusing on people most likely to transmit or focusing on those most likely to get severe disease).


Principal Investigator/ Program Director Professor Jacqui Miot
Start dateMarch 2020
End date

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HE2RO staff involved

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