In-host Modelling of COVID-19 in Humans

Esteban Abelardo Hernandez Vargas
Tue, Jun 23, 2020
CAIMS - PIMS Coronavirus Modelling Conference

COVID-19 pandemic has underlined the impact of emergent pathogens as a major threat for human health. The development of quantitative approaches to advance comprehension of the current outbreak is urgently needed to tackle this severe disease. In this work, different mathematical models are proposed to represent SARS-CoV-2 dynamics in infected patients. Considering different starting times of infection, parameters sets that represent infectivity of SARS-CoV-2 are computed and compared with other viral infections that can also cause pandemics. Based on the target cell limited model, SARS-CoV-2 infecting time between susceptible cells is much slower than those reported for Ebola virus infection (about 3 times slower) and influenza infection (60 times slower). The within-host reproductive number for SARS-CoV-2 is consistent to the values of influenza infection (1.7-5.35). The best model to fit the data was including immune cell response, which suggests a slow immune response peaking between 5 to 10 days post onset of symptoms. The model with eclipse phase, time in a latent phase before becoming productively infected cells, was not supported. Interestingly, both, the target cell model and the model with immune responses, predict that SARS-CoV-2 may replicate very slowly in the first days after infection, and it could be below detection levels during the first 4 days post infection. A quantitative comprehension of SARS-CoV-2 dynamics and the estimation of standard parameters of viral infections is the key contribution of this pioneering work. This work can serve for future evaluation of the potential drugs with different methods of action to inhibit SARS-CoV-2.