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Quantum mechanics: now also in the service of vaccines

Scientists from the Hebrew University and the USA propose a new strategy for vaccination against epidemics

Professor Baruch Meyerson from the Rekh Institute of Physics at the Hebrew University
Professor Baruch Meyerson from the Rekh Institute of Physics at the Hebrew University

Against the background of the outbreak of influenza in recent days and the doctors' recommendation to get vaccinated, research at the Hebrew University brings a new line in the field: a physicist from the Hebrew University, in collaboration with two physicists from the University of Michigan in the USA, developed a theoretical strategy for vaccinating populations against infectious diseases, using methods from the field of quantum mechanics. According to the original strategy proposed by the researchers, instead of vaccinating the entire population against an epidemic, as is customary today, it is possible to vaccinate intensively and on a limited scale. The strategy is based on accelerating the natural extinction rate of the disease through selective vaccination.

"Many times we hear about another new epidemic that spread among a certain population and caused part of the population to get sick," explains Professor Baruch Meyerson from the Rakeh Institute of Physics at the Hebrew University, who developed the theory with his colleagues from the University of Michigan. "While most patients will recover from the disease and develop resistance to it, there is a high probability that some patients will continue to spread the disease among the rest of the population, through contact with individuals who are in risk groups."

To reduce the extent of infection, the health system usually vaccinates as many people as possible in the risk group. If all the people agree to be vaccinated and there are enough vaccines for everyone, then the mass vaccination operation can eradicate the disease. However, many times the system encounters problems such as the refusal of a part of the risk group to be vaccinated, insufficient availability of a certain vaccine, high cost of vaccine production or special difficulty in storing it.

During the research, the scientists were based on the simple fact that even in the absence of a vaccine, a disease is expected to die out eventually. However, the amount of time it takes to eradicate a disease among a large population may be very long. The modern vaccination method proposed by Prof. Meyerson and his colleagues is supposed to accelerate as much as possible the natural process of the extinction of the disease.

According to the strategy, it is possible to intensively vaccinate only populations that are in a high-risk group, such as children studying in a class in which a certain percentage of the students have already contracted the flu, at intervals adapted to the natural waves of infection of the disease and in accordance with its seasonal dynamics.

To deal with the epidemiological question, the scientists used the mathematical model borrowed from quantum mechanics - a physical theory designed to explain the behavior of microscopic particles. The researchers noticed that by regulating the parameters of particle traps, it is possible to increase or decrease the chance of their escape. The theory shows how a dedicated and selective vaccine may increase the extinction rate of the disease compared to the natural extinction rate.

According to the researchers, although their theory has not yet been tested using real data, their calculations indicate that by vaccinating a small percentage of the population, the time it takes for the disease to die out can be reduced from five months to a period of only three to four months. Now, the researchers are focusing on deepening their understanding of the phenomenon they discovered.

42 תגובות

  1. Thank you for all the killers. I mostly liked Ehud's response, but R.H. and Michael also deserve praise.
    I sat down and read Camila's words. She does her job with a soft, gentle and unobtrusive language and clarifies her position no less well than the others.
    Comparing the nature of the discussion between here and "A country haunted by demons 21: Israel is weakening - 14% of Israelis are more religious than before, only XNUMX% are less religious than before" ( ) suggests that most of the respondents come from the planet Mars and the nature of the responses varies accordingly. There are no solid conclusions in my mouth, but only bad taste.

  2. jubilee:
    There is another reason for the different treatment you received.
    It's not that Gali wrote one comment, everyone answered and then she stopped.
    She continued to stick to her position and people just responded to her every comment.
    It doesn't make sense to now group all the responses she received during a debate in which she was also a party and present them as an attack.
    Let's also remember that Gali's response was originally an attack on serious people who are not even aware of the debate that took place here.
    I commented on it once, and when I saw that others felt the same way I did and responded accordingly, I decided to drop the matter (I'm involved in enough debates anyway) and content myself with worrying about it being published The article about the combined tools But I felt sympathy with the arguments put forward by Kamila, R.H. and Zvi - because of their content.
    By the way - note - Camila is also a woman and no one attacked her for that.

  3. Yuval, do you want a fatal criticism so badly? So I will join Ehud in a slightly less polite way. So you say "Maybe? Blah blah blah". Maybe?. And maybe not? Do you have something to rely on? Is there any faint shred of evidence for what you're suggesting? How is your proposal different from the "theory" of the spaghetti monster? Maybe? After all, anyone can say "maybe". Maybe a photon is a universe in itself with stars with life in it? Maybe we live on a photon of a giant world? maybe or maybe? There have already been ghosts here with "maybe" suggestions similar to yours and even more absurd than them. Maybe?.

    Sorry for the bluntness but you asked for it and also to show that you are not chauvinists.

  4. jubilee

    About what you wrote there was a famous saying by Pauli (Nobel Prize winning physicist) who used to say
    "He is not even wrong"

  5. The readership will forgive me, but most of us are chauvinists. I (g) wrote something stupid and unclear, and with the exception of a light washing for the purpose of going out of my hands I did not get any reference. Gali (N) wrote a wise, to-the-point, well-reasoned and clear review, and since then she has been receiving criticism from fans from all over. According to Tomi, I thought that the days of "be nice and shut up" have passed.

  6. R.T.

    Offhand remark:
    To the list of important physicists who worked in biology, we can add Richard Feynman, who during his sabbatical years carried out biological research.

  7. sympathetic,
    Sorry, you're right, 12 researchers, one of whom is Nobel laureate Phil Sharp.
    Regarding Natalie and Adi, I do not agree that they are exceptions. Both are physicists who found an interest in biology. Nathalie Blavan today is one of the leaders in the study of bacteria Persisters and Adi Vakanin works on chemotaxis (attraction and movement of bacteria towards attractants) and they perform work that every ordinary microbiologist performs + the mathematical insight they introduce in a beautiful way. You can also add to the list Roy Kishoni from Harvard Medical School and many others. We also mentioned Crick and, if I'm not mistaken, Luria and many others who were physicists and brought about the great breakthrough in molecular biology in the 50s and 60s. We should also mention the brain research department and Prof. Idan Segev whose banner is interdisciplinary collaboration.
    In my opinion, this is a welcome phenomenon and no one should underestimate a physicist who publishes biological works or vice versa.
    I would love to hear here or if you want directly (you can ask for my email from Avi Blizovsky) why you think there is a flaw in an interdisciplinary connection.

  8. R.H.

    Of course I agree with you - scientific work is judged not by titles and labels but by quality and the appropriateness of doing so. Although I also agree with you regarding this specific article that there is no problem for a physicist to study the development of epidemics, in general I believe that there is a point to a flaw in the connection between the fields. I will try to write about it later if I have time (hopefully my words did not go out of context...).

    A few corrections if you will allow me:

    In the article in Israel it is about a group of 12 people, one of whom is a Nobel Prize winner. Second, the physicist from the Weizmann Institute Domani indirectly expresses opposition to the concept of unifying scientific disciplines.

    Regarding Nathalie Blavan and Adi and Kanin, I know them both very well. They are like Prof. Haim Sampolinski, they are the exceptions that prove the rule. These are physicists from the field of "solid state" who made a significant conversion in their post-doctorate and studied biology in an orderly manner and today they are doing excellent and meaningful work. Most of the time the situation is not like this and later on I might elaborate.

  9. The scientist uses different tools, from different fields of science, to investigate and reach some truth.
    It is only logical that there is a 'spillover' of tools from one scientific field to another, because it only helps the scientist to investigate and reach the truth.

    The physicist can help the biologist with a physicist's tools to solve a biological problem that the biologist encounters. The result can be true or false.
    But, using a tool that comes from a different scientific field to a scientific field where it is used is as legitimate as flipping a schnitzel (while frying) with pliers.
    Therefore, in my opinion it is possible and legitimate - to be a physicist and solve a problem in the field of biology.

  10. jubilee,

    It is advisable to read a bit before commenting and building a bunch of theories. The given article has nothing to do with quantum theory as written by almost all the commenters. The title is just misleading. Regarding similar phenomena, mathematical methods for calculation are effective in many cases. For example Myerson refers to
    In another article (not the one in question) for the WKB approximation, this is an approximation
    used to solve partial linear equations with varying coefficients, therefore it is likely that this approximation will be good not only for quantum theory for which it was first defined but in many other fields and indeed it also describes adiabatic variation in ordinary analytical mechanics and in many other unrelated fields. Using the same type of mathematics does not prove any connection as you are trying to imply, for example in many fields of science there are integrals, is there a connection between them?

  11. enough! enough to go down on waves. come down on me too
    I believe that if a phenomenon in the micro field (in the above case quantum mechanics) behaves like a phenomenon in the macro field, which is completely different and unrelated (the spread of a disease in a population of animals), there is room to check whether the micro phenomenon is itself also a macro phenomenon. In other words, perhaps each photon (and each electron) is actually a phenomenon that occurs on the back of a population of particles much smaller than it. This can explain, for example, the particle-wave duality as a "mass infection" with "disease" and various modes of "death" of the population of its carriers.

  12. jelly,
    This is not a complex question or anything. Scientific work should be objectively judged according to the nature of the work. The judgment has no importance for who wrote it. Even if he/she is a Nobel laureate who writes nonsense about the work to be rejected and if he/she lacks formal education and renews the work to be accepted for publication.
    The researcher himself knows the limits of his knowledge and when he reaches them he has three options, leave the field, study it or cooperate with someone who understands. This is, simply, nothing complex (and the truth is also not interesting), just falsehoods.

  13. The only one among all the commenters who really addressed the question is Ehud up here. And the question was what Ehud wrote here:
    "The reasoning in my opinion is whether it is legitimate or not for a physicist (Lao Danuka Meyerson) to deal with a question involving biology is the type of question". And this question is a very complex question and one that, in my opinion, the commenters above did not take seriously, but mostly just joked (and to a large extent were offended).
    And this is a very complex question in view of the many tangential fields between physics and medical physics - to medicine and the various medical studies and to biology in all its various shades. And there is also the problem of where to draw the line: up to this point knowledge of physics and mathematics is needed and from here on I cannot investigate with the help of my physical tools because I need medical knowledge. And this is also for population studies - I think Ilya Prigogine from Brussels started researching something like this in the XNUMXs and his department opened up the field, if I remember correctly.
    But you had a very good exercise in the philosophy of science. Good night, Gali.

  14. sympathetic,
    I don't blame Myerson, but I know at least two microbiologists per se in the physics department in Givat - Ram. (Dr. Blavan and Dr. Vaknin). All these definitions, physicist" "biologist" is a bit of nonsense. What is your definition of importance? If you are a physicist and I am a biologist, one day we will decide to cooperate and ask serious questions precisely in the field of let's say geology. Will the honorable Ms. Weinstein come and reject the job just because of the title next to us?
    Did someone tell Einstein when he published his work, come on, you're not even a professor, you're just a patent office clerk? The disqualification should be on the merits of the matter. A biologist can talk nonsense in biology and the "layman" can publish an amazing theoretical article. Not least, in the case below, Prof. Myerson is not a layman at all but an expert in the field of population extinction models.

    In fact, the point that comes up here is a problem in my opinion in the entire scientific method where the publisher of the article does not know who his reviewer is, but the reviewer does, and then it is an opening for prejudices as shown by Gali Weinstein. In my opinion, the method should be double blind which will partially prevent such and other problems such as automatic acceptance of articles from renowned researchers (partially because it is very easy to tell who the author of the article is from the article itself).

  15. R.H.

    I don't understand biology. I met Prof. Meyerson several years ago. He is an excellent physicist but I don't think he has an education in biology. The list of articles you bring all discuss the same problem of population development. Both the question of the development of populations and the questions concerning the development of diseases are of the same type, they can be mathematically modeled very simply by a rate equation in which the growth of the population or the disease takes place at a constant rate multiplied by the population density or the population density squared if it is necessary for two individuals to meet... On the other hand, there is a death rate And in addition, fluctuations must be taken into account, in particular a fluctuation large enough to kill the entire population or (the carriers of the disease) and then the "game" comes to an end.

    The reasoning in my opinion as to whether or not it is legitimate for a physicist (let alone Meyerson) to deal with a question involving biology is the type of question. There are many questions in biology whose answer is not quantitative, but when it comes to populations (or diseases) the question is quantitative and therefore can be well modeled mathematically. The physicist deals with a small part of the question when the information he receives from the biologists or from statistical data on the disease - from which he builds the rates he needs for the equations. The last Camila described it well with her example of the dynamics of the formation of traffic jams.

    By the way, with the same logic that has been used until now, it could also be argued that biologists are not qualified to work on ways to stop epidemics since they only come up with theoretical models. In the real world there are pharmaceutical manufacturers that have a limited specific production rate. The drugs also need to be transported from place to place. There are also psychological elements involved in persuading the public to get vaccinated. What do biologists understand by this? The problem of dealing with epidemics is of course complex. Theoreticians deal with it in theory and then try to project their results on the real world. There is nothing wrong with mathematical modeling it is what quantitative science does.

  16. Gali Weinstein,

    Below is a partial list of Myerson's publications:

    16 articles that all deal with models in population biology. Indeed, he boasts a physicist degree, but he is a biologist and understands biology much more than many biologists I know who have no clue about the mathematics of biology. And mathematics is an important strand even in biology.

    As the Sages said, "Don't look into the jar..." before you dismiss something out of hand.
    By the way, even if he was self-taught without any degree or formal training, you cannot dismiss what he says on a non-material basis but only on the merits of the matter. I think your approach is insulting and destructive.

  17. Gali, I don't quite understand your tough attitude. Many fields of research are interdisciplinary in which scientists with different and diverse backgrounds contribute to fields other than those in which they originally grew up. If we take for example the field of brain research, then you will find there bloggers, computer people, chemists, mathematicians, engineers and even physicists. There is not a single field of the fields I mentioned that did not produce scientists who made a significant contribution to understanding the function of the brain. I really don't see a reason to stick to rigid definitions of the research fields when in the end science as a whole deals with a similar thing and it is the attempt to describe and understand the world around us (and within us). Obviously, this does not mean that every scientist, by virtue of being a doctor of something for that matter) can engage in every field of science. Knowledge and understanding of the researched field is required, but it is not necessary to know all the knowledge that exists in that field in order to do good research in it. If I am researching the dynamics of the formation of traffic jams, I do not have to know how a car engine works, for example. It will definitely be enough for a start to know only the typical speeds, maybe their size, the number of lanes on the road, the curvature and the slope of the road. And the best thing is that I can use tools and approaches from different fields to Mary, such as fluid dynamics or ant trails, so that I can propose models that will be relevant to this topic. If you are trying to limit the research, it is not clear to me why you stop at physics for physicists and biology for biologists, then according to the same logic it is not possible for an ecologist to carry out research related to biochemistry or for a virologist to carry out research related to botany and it is possible to continue dividing the fields further and further ad absurdum. Surely you will agree that the boundaries between research fields are artificial and not always clear, so what are you actually going against?

  18. jelly,

    There is no more point in this argument - I said what I said, but you refuse to comment,

    You are right, the "physicists" are constantly busying themselves with things they understand nothing about and their friends, the other "physicists" stand by them due to the threats of the secret society called the "Association of Physicists"

  19. A deer cannot see the forest for the trees, and I did not find one consistent and orderly argument in all your answers. I mean, what did you want to tell me? What is your argument? Present me a neat argument in a few sentences.
    One thing I found was: "Their article passed the basic scientific level in the scientific community". When an article is accepted for publication it does not mean that the physicist is capable of researching a field of medicine. It just means that the mathematical model proposed by the physicist and the article as a whole meets the physical scientific standard. And this is what the refrices who come from the writer's field check.

  20. jelly,

    Your response is really not serious:
    The fact that you knew what Ehud and I were going to say doesn't mean it's not true, so it's really irrelevant and in line with your stereotypical positions (physicists against the whole world) - let's stay matter-of-fact and go through your responses one by one:

    1) In the context of the science enthusiast, this only illustrates how justified the current article is - epidemiologists, who are undoubtedly already familiar with similar models - this should justify the use of such methods in the field of epidemiology. If physicists were to use it, you would say "well, they are physicists, what do they understand in such fields - epidemiologists would never use such an abstract model".
    2) Your response to Ehud - what Ehud is saying is that when referring to the transmission of a disease, all that matters is the rate of infection and the chance of a spontaneous cure (these are of course two measurable data, and if they cannot be left as missing) - it could be that he is wrong and that you know more - go ahead, have a substantive debate, Say what else is important, give a link to Wikipedia - do something else besides saying he doesn't understand anything.
    3) Regarding your response to me - apart from saying that it doesn't work like that, again, you didn't say anything. You did not refer to the existence of peer review, which is supposed to check whether the work done is serious enough, and you also did not refer to the entire second part that talks about the fact that effects that appear in simple and structured models may also appear in more complex systems (and it is possible to test this in a controlled experiment). For your very argument, a biologist studying for a bachelor's degree learns many things beyond models of the spread of diseases - the physicists who wrote the article do not pretend to replace it with everything but only to say something about a field that they claim can be mathematically modeled (based on the fact that the "science enthusiast" epidemiologists agree with them) - and in mathematical models they understand
    4) Your comment about Ehud's heart (-: , again misses the main point - the point that Ehud wanted to emphasize that in order to mess with the rhythm of a biological object, you don't need to be a biologist - just like Maxwell could write equations about an electric current without knowing what an electron is - because In such a model, one does not refer to the object itself (heart or electron) but to its single property (rate or charge)
    5) And finally, your answer to RA - I'm sure that Crick also had a first article, after which you would raise an eyebrow and cluck your tongue - your definition of "moved to biology" - exactly what does the fact that he managed to do something useful in biology - regarding this article, time will judge ( Beyond that, it does not seem to me that the transition in Myerson's case is so dramatic, especially in light of the fact that so far you have not refuted Ehud's statements according to which there is no problem in describing a biological model for the spread of a disease with pure mathematical tools)

    And finally your concluding comment says it all -
    Your entire disqualification, based on them being physicists,
    You treat them as a scientist troll who publishes an alternative theory to relativity or evolution on his blog - you ignore the fact that they are people whose academic prestige is important to them (and they know what it is), that their theory does not claim to change the world but only to offer a new vaccine strategy worth testing. You also ignore that, unlike the dear Trullino theory, their article passed the basic scientific level in the scientific community.

  21. Ehud and Zvi, how did I know you would stand up for the physicist. After all, you have to maintain the honor of the Physics Association. The arguments above are really unconvincing. Let's go one by one:
    1) The science enthusiast wrote:
    leading epidemiologists in the USA and UK have been using similar "abstract" mathematical models
    But what about leading physicists?
    2) Ehud wrote: "It is not necessary to understand diseases to know how they spread. These are two separate fields. The chance of transmitting a disease does depend on the type of virus that transmits it, but the modeling for its transmission can be abstracted as long as it is not accurately described." Sorry? from where do you know? Do you have enough knowledge to determine this? And let's say we build a model for its transmission, if we don't understand the diseases then the research is poor.
    3) Zvi writes: "But a physicist, this is not destiny, he can read articles written on these subjects, he can consult with people - he can do all kinds of things that will make him understand it sufficiently." Great, then maybe I will also start doing scientific research in biology and medicine. Because I can read about it and do all kinds of things that will make me understand it sufficiently. I'm a doctor, aren't I? And I studied geophysics - well, it's like physics. But it doesn't work that way. Because you study for years at the faculty of medicine, or biology and all to research the field.
    4) Ehud again writes: "A physicist does not need in-depth knowledge of biology to study the rhythm of the heartbeat", but he has no concept of cardiology so he cannot draw any conclusions about the heart at all. So what is his research worth, tell me?
    5) Ver. H. who agrees with the opinion of those above: "After all, Francis Crick was a physicist who built models (in the case of DNA). In your opinion, you would have dismissed him outright simply because he was a physicist."
    Francis Crick did a PhD in physics and switched to biology, he studied biology and then he used physical methods for biological research so he was a biophysicist. But that is not what Myerson did in his article.

    If you have more logical arguments in favor of the physicists, I would love to hear them.

  22. Gali Weinstein,
    I agree with the opinion of the science enthusiast Zvi and Ehud. If you check the CVs and publications of the authors, you will see that they have a lot of experience in the field. Beyond that, the research was funded by the US Army, which is interested in implementing the results from such models. So your killing and the ban that you think should be imposed on physicists to study biology is very misplaced. Do you know how many physicists went beyond biology and what was their contribution?
    After all, Francis Crick was a physicist who built models (in the case of DNA). In your opinion, you would dismiss him outright simply because he is a physicist.

  23. The set of equations describing the spread of the disease will usually be linear. These are rate equations. The unique thing about the spread of diseases is the plactuations. There is a very low probability that suddenly at a given moment all the patients will be cured at once and then the disease cannot continue to spread. This small chance of the disease declining is what makes the field interesting and therefore it is necessary to estimate the probability of a large fluctuation. The chance of fluctuation that will cause a disease to disappear and how it can be "helped" to occur is what Prof. Myerson investigates in this work. By the way, Prof. Myerson is an expert in the physics of non-linear systems, the equations describing non-linear development appear in many fields and yet physicists deal with them. A physicist does not need an in-depth knowledge of biology to study the heartbeat rate, or an in-depth knowledge of weather to deal with the models that predict the weather, or knowledge of engineering to study the propagation of cracks, all of these phenomena are well characterized mathematically with the help of a set of non-linear equations that the physicist studies.

  24. jelly,

    Your review may be correct
    Building mathematical models is a complicated matter, on the one hand you have to build a model that is simple enough to be able to do something with it, and on the other hand it has to be complex enough to capture at least part of reality.
    It may be that this model in question is not complex enough - I really don't understand it enough to judge and I don't know if you do (I really don't know - not as a defiance).

    But there are two main points here that I think you are missing - one "political" and the other essential:

    1. You say that a physicist cannot write such an article because he doesn't know about... but a physicist, this is not fate, he can read articles written on these topics, he can consult with people - he can do all kinds of things that will make him understand this Enough. The one who should check whether he did this, and whether what he is talking about is biologically plausible is the journal that publishes his article - and he will do this through peer review, both physicists and biologists. Since I assume a certain level of professionalism of the scientific press - I assume that the things said here are at least not unfounded based on a reasonable knowledge of biology.

    2. Even if the model is incorrect, it is possible that it describes a correct phenomenon - and so even though it is too simplistic to describe reality, it may capture an aspect of it, which is correct. I will explain - the article describes a mechanism according to which when diseases spread in an x ​​way, then it is better to vaccinate the population in a y way (time intervals that correspond to the natural spread times....) which is fundamentally different from the form of vaccination used today (which does not perfect the natural spread times of the disease at all). It may be that this rule is incorrect and if you perfect everything then you find that diseases spread in a z way - but still, it is possible that the optimal vaccine strategy for this spread will include in some way a reference to the natural spread time of the disease - strategy y - and then we won.
    For example - the theory of Copernicus for example is incorrect - he claimed that the stars move in circles and in fact they move in ellipses, so he is not accurate. In fact, the inaccuracies are such that part of the criticism of the model was that it is less accurate in terms of its predictions than the Ptolemaic model. Nevertheless, it is clear that even though it was less accurate than the Ptolemaic model, it captured reality better than it did and later - it also enabled the development of the Keplerian model, which is actually the truly correct thing.
    So what should be done from here on (if you want to engage in models of multiple bacterial populations and vaccines) - you need to build more advanced models, which take into account more things (genetic engineering, viruses, etc. things you think are important) and try to analyze them with similar tools - if you succeed , if not in the meantime it is possible in a controlled experiment to try the strategy proposed in the article and it may be useful even though we will not be clear to the end, the full effects that are not taken into account.

  25. deer,

    Thanks for the link to the article.

    It is not necessary to understand diseases to know how they spread. These are two separate fields. The chance of transmitting a disease does depend on the type of virus that transmits it, but the modeling for its transmission can be abstracted as long as it is not accurately described. It is simply assumed that the chance of contracting the disease P (sorry for the math) is a given and depends, for example, only on the density of residents in a given area. Although the chance of contracting the disease depends on a specific person, where he lives, what he eats, his immune system, where his children go to kindergarten, and more, but in large enough systems, these factors can be considered. Now we are writing an equation for the spread of an epidemic. The carriers of the disease can recover, die and also infect others with a given probability. The question of whether an epidemic spreads or fades depends on the end of recovery (or death) compared to the rate of infection by vaccination these dormancy can be controlled. Prof. Baruch Meyerson is a very serious researcher and does not try to say anything about bacteria but about the equations that determine the development of a disease in a population given certain parameters.

  26. Gali, what do you know about the authors of this work that makes you believe that they know nothing about biology and medicine? That you don't understand math doesn't mean they don't understand biology....

    More to the point of your comments: leading epidemiologists in the USA and UK have been using similar "abstract" mathematical models for a long time: for predicting the dynamics of epidemic outbreaks in their countries, for developing vaccination strategies, etc. See, for example,

    RM Anderson and R. May, Infectious Diseases of Humans:
    Dynamics and Control Oxford University Press, Oxford,

    T. Andersson and H. Britton, Stochastic Epidemic Models and
    Their Statistical Analysis, Lecture Notes in Statistics Vol. 151
    Springer, New York, 2000.

  27. Even when conducting research on diseases using mathematical models, you need to understand medicine and biology.
    The mathematical models used in medicine and biology are usually much more applied and not pure mathematics as in the article in question.
    It is not possible for a physicist to carry out such research. This is not his field and he does not understand viruses and vaccines. He barely knows how to put together a modern vaccine and what genetic engineering is and what the connection between it and vaccines is. This is not complex physics. All he knows is to build a mathematical model. But he cannot make hypotheses nor draw conclusions from his mathematical model because he does not have the necessary knowledge. And so in fact his research is empty of content from an applied point of view for medical sciences.

  28. jelly:
    I don't know what you're upset about.
    This is a legitimate study that even the perpetrators do not yet sign off on its conclusions.
    The strategy for dealing with epidemics is often determined through mathematical models and these are the strategies that recognized health institutions eventually adopt.
    Of course, the adoption of the strategies is only done after a thorough examination, but before testing, you have to formulate a hypothesis to be tested and check the logic in it, and that's all the researchers here did.
    Therefore - what the researchers did is not irresponsibility but rather a responsible act (irresponsibility is not trying to deal with the problem).

  29. I read the original article:
    And I was looking for classical quantum mechanics. Therefore the title of the article here is really inappropriate. And it's even confusing because there is a field in biology called "quantum biology" which is something completely different.
    The article is too mathematical to be a model for a biological population. The viruses and the course of the spread of diseases do not follow pure mathematical models as shown in the article. Biology is more complex than mathematical models. I did not find any chemical and biological principle of action in the article. Only pure mathematics and mathematical principles and mathematical theorems. For example, read the following passage from the article:
    We find that the optimal vaccination protocol is a periodic one
    sequence of delta-like pulses. This protocol is essentially
    model-independent, it only requires that the population
    be spatially uniform. In stationary systems, the phase
    of the pulses is irrelevant. In contrast, periodically
    modulated systems, like in the case of seasonally varying
    infection, it is necessary to synchronize appropriately
    vaccination pulses with the modulation.
    It's a passage that can't even be biologically meaningful. They put mathematics on nature and biology as if a biological system is a stationary system with pulses. These are terms that are not in the field of biology and are foreign to it.
    In short, it does not seem to me at all (!!) that a physicist can conduct research on viruses because he does not know the epidemiological field very well. It is impossible to be a good mathematician and give a viral and immune model. It just doesn't work. What is in the Myerson et al paper could be a nice mathematical model. But this model has nothing to do with the nature and behavior of viruses. And it is really criminal negligence to express an opinion based on a pure mathematical model and also based on a lack of knowledge in medicine and epidemiology only for a limited population to be vaccinated! Because people can understand it as a recommendation.
    The population must listen only to the recommendations of the Ministry of Health and the health insurance funds and act accordingly regarding the flu vaccines. To the extent that research is carried out by doctors or expert researchers in the various fields of medicine and biology, it can be taken seriously. However, the instructions of the Ministry of Health must still be obeyed.

  30. Not that I'm disrespecting, but maybe it's a mistake, the improvement is from 5 months to 4 months?..

  31. Here is a link to the abstract of the article:

    I haven't read the entire article, but from reading the abstract you can get the impression that it says nothing and a half about quantum theory and in this respect the title is misleading (as well as the links).

    From what I understand, and as it is also written in the body of the news, the mathematical techniques used are partly borrowed from quantum theory - which is not surprising because many times unrelated things follow similar mathematical equations. Note that we will not learn anything about the behavior of a bacterium from quantum theory, but only about the mathematics that characterizes their spread - therefore (in response to Yuval), probably nothing can be learned from the spread of diseases about quantum theory either. Apparently, it could be that solving equations related to eruption patterns could also be applied in quantum theory, but due to the historical nature of the professions, it is likely that the direction of the migration of mathematical knowledge will be from physics to medicine and not the other way around.

    As for the ability of physicists to deal with such things (my people),
    Part of what physicists do is to build models for the behavior of systems, these models only take part of the possible effects and thus get equations that can be solved. The question is whether these models capture the essence of reality or not. In certain systems these models are more successful and in others less so. On the face of it, the growth of a bacterial population is something that can be modeled in some way and this has been the practice for years - now, what Prof. Meyerson and his partners are saying is that this model of bacterial population growth can have effects on the vaccine strategy - this may or may not be true, but it certainly is It is not unreasonable for a physicist to deal with it.

  32. Link to the article? A little more in-depth explanation?

    The same communique from the university was also published in Israel

  33. Do you need a physical theory for this? It is clear to everyone that the population at risk must be vaccinated with "priority" for those at high risk of getting sick and being infected.

  34. Is it also possible to go the opposite way and build a new model for quantum mechanics based on disease outbreak patterns?

  35. Oh well.
    Only in the end it won't turn out that physicists are better off dealing with physics

  36. The follow-up the Ministry of Health would have to do to use such a strategy is troubling.

    Especially in a disease like the flu, which in the vast majority of cases is not life-threatening.

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