Statistics in Medicine Featured Article: AIDS and COVID: A tale of two pandemics and the role of statisticians

Statistics in Medicine has just published AIDS and COVID: A tale of two pandemics and the role of statisticians by Susan S. Ellenberg and Jeffrey S. Morris. This featured article compares and contrasts the HIV-AIDS and SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 pandemics, and provides an overview of the role of statisticians in the scientific efforts during these pandemics. This article and the accompanying discussions/commentaries and rejoinder by the scientific experts listed below are all free to read.

Abstract: The world has experienced three global pandemics over the last half‐century: HIV/AIDS, H1N1, and COVID‐19. HIV/AIDS and COVID‐19 are still with us and have wrought extensive havoc worldwide. There are many differences between these two infections and their global impacts, but one thing they have in common is the mobilization of scientific resources to both understand the infection and develop ways to combat it. As was the case with HIV, statisticians have been in the forefront of scientists working to understand transmission dynamics and the natural history of infection, determine prognostic factors for severe disease, and develop optimal study designs to assess therapeutics and vaccines.


  1. Mitchell H. Gail, National Cancer Institute

  2. Dean Follmann, National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease

  3. Natalie Dean, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University

  4. Britta L. Jewell and Nicholas P. Jewell, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

  5. M. Elizabeth Halloran, Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

  6. Valerie Isham, University College London

  7. Ron Brookmeyer, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health

  8. Victor De Gruttola, Ravi Goyal, Natasha K. Martin, T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University

  9. Robert W. Platt, McGill University

Professors Ellenberg and Morris wrote a rejoinder responding to these commentaries.

Ellenberg, SSMorris, JSAIDS and COVID: A tale of two pandemics and the role of statisticiansStatistics in Medicine20214024992510