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COVID-19 Mathematical Model Reveals Innate Immunity Plays Larger Role in Controlling SARS-CoV-2 Viral Load than Adaptive Immunity

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 25 Jan 2021
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Image: COVID-19 Mathematical Model Reveals Innate Immunity Plays Larger Role in Controlling SARS-CoV-2 Viral Load than Adaptive Immunity (Photo courtesy of vladdon/Shutterstock.com)
Image: COVID-19 Mathematical Model Reveals Innate Immunity Plays Larger Role in Controlling SARS-CoV-2 Viral Load than Adaptive Immunity (Photo courtesy of vladdon/Shutterstock.com)
Researchers have developed a mathematical model of SARS-CoV-2 infection that reveals a key role for the innate immune system in controlling viral load.

The mathematical model was developed by researchers at Houston Methodist (Houston, TX, USA) and predicts the viral load over time in organs that express the ACE-2 receptor, which is necessary for SARS-CoV-2’s entry into cells. The researchers aimed to improve upon the existing models for investigating virus-host interactions to simulate the whole-body dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Some of the parameters used in the model, such as the levels of various immune cells in the human body, were already known, whereas others, such as the infection rate of target cells, were estimated from published experimental data from COVID-19-infected hamsters.

Once the team had developed a simplified model, they used human data to make a more complete one that also included adaptive immunity. When the researchers used the model to simulate different conditions, they found that innate immunity played a larger role in controlling viral load than adaptive immunity, and that it was important to begin antiviral or interferon therapy as soon as possible after the onset of symptoms.

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