A system dynamics-based simulation experiment for aligning two anthrax progression models and their implications
College of Economics & Management, Nanjing Agricultural University, 1 Weigang, Nanjing, Jiangsu, China
Two models have been proposed in the literature to describe anthrax progression - the first is referred to as Compartment-B model, which has 22 states, and the other is called Incubation–Prodromal–Fulminant (IPF) model, which has 9 states. How do these two models differ from each other in terms of the indicators considered important by policy or decision makers? Does one always outperform the other based on key performance measures? This paper describes our experience of aligning these two models in the context of anthrax attack. We first develop two simulation models using system dynamics to integrate the key indicators of emergency response, such as treatment rate, detection time, and treatment capacity. We then propose the process of model alignment and examine a large number of numerical examples to see whether the number of deaths, the stabilization time, and the demand for medicine produced by the two models will be reasonably equivalent. This study indicates that it is important for policy makers to understand the differences and similarities between the two models before making decisions. Furthermore, this research provides insights for scholars that rely on simulation tools for investigating bioterrorism attacks and for policy/decision makers that use these tools.