Using a Mathematical Model to Compare SARS-CoV-2, MERS-CoV, and SARS-CoV
In a new publication, A quantitative model used to compare within host SARS-CoV-2, MERS-CoV, and SARS-CoV dynamics provides insights into the pathogenesis and treatment of SARS-CoV-2, author Alan Perelson and colleagues use a computer model to compare the SARS-CoV-2, MERS-CoV, and SARS-CoV viruses.
Currently, scientists are working to create antiviral therapies for the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. This research project is taking a different approach and instead uses mathematical modeling to improve our understanding of viral dynamics within infected hosts.
In this project the researchers used a mathematical model in combination with previously published viral load data to compare the viral dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 with analogous dynamics of MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV. They found that at the onset of symptoms the within-host basic reproduction number of SARS-CoV-2 was statistically significantly larger than that of MERS-CoV and similar to that of SARS-CoV.
They also found that with SARS-CoV-2, the time from symptom onset to the viral load peak was shorter than those of MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV.
What does this mean? These findings suggest that because the viral load peak is reached more rapidly, it may be more difficult to control SARS-CoV-2 infection by antivirals than other coronaviruses. Treating SARS-CoV-2 infection after the onset of symptoms is more challenging because effective antiviral treatment should be initiated before the viral peak and not after.
By using a modeling approach, the researchers hope this work provides insights into the pathogenesis of SARSCoV-2 and that it will be useful for development of optimal strategies for employing antiviral therapies.
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