K:This Overlooked Variable Is the Key to the Pandemic

Despite 2020 reaching its end (and many may think this is not too soon) there are still many uncertainties hovering over the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the main parameters which currently draws the attention of the scientific world is not linked to the R0, this reproductive number which was raised this year to unprecedented levels of popularity through headlines across the world.


What still intrigues scientists is the K variable, or in other words the quality of a pathogen to disperse in a steady manner or in quantifiable bursts. Through comparisons with other pathogens and pandemics, the scientific community strives to better fathom the idiosyncrasies of COVID-19.


In a recent article dedicated to the driving factors behind this pandemic, The Atlantic sketches out the disease modelling efforts required to grasp the behavioural pattern of the pathogen to determine the epidemiological trends and patterns.


Unsurprisingly, SARS-CoV, the previous incarnation of SARS-CoV-2 that caused the 2003 SARS outbreak, was also overdispersed in this way: The majority of infected people did not transmit it, but a few super-spreading events caused most of the outbreaks. 


In turn, these data can inform on the best strategies to mitigate, challenge and manage the spread of the disease. To read the full article: Click here.


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