Necessary and sufficient conditions for exact closures of epidemic equations on configuration model networks
We prove that it is possible to obtain the exact closure of SIR pairwise epidemic equations on a configuration model network if and only if the degree distribution follows a Poisson, binomial, or negative binomial distribution. The proof relies on establishing the equivalence, for these specific degree distributions, between the closed pairwise model and a dynamical survival analysis (DSA) model that was previously shown to be exact. Specifically, we demonstrate that the DSA model is equivalent to the well-known edge-based Volz model. Using this result, we also provide reductions of the closed pairwise and Volz models to a single equation that involves only susceptibles. This equation has a useful statistical interpretation in terms of times to infection. We provide some numerical examples to illustrate our results.