Simplified Within Host and Dose-response Models of SARS-CoV-2


Understanding the mechanistic dynamics of transmission is key to designing more targeted and effective interventions to limit the spread of infectious diseases. A well-described within-host model allows explicit simulation of how infectiousness changes over time at an individual level. This can then be coupled with dose-response models to investigate the impact of timing on transmission. We collected and compared a range of within-host models used in previous studies and identified a minimally-complex model that provides suitable within-host dynamics while keeping a reduced number of parameters to allow inference and limit unidentifiability issues. Furthermore, non-dimensionalised models were developed to further overcome the uncertainty in estimates of the size of the susceptible cell population, a common problem in many of these approaches. We will discuss these models, and their fit to data from the human challenge study for SARS-CoV-2 and the model selection results, which has been performed using ABC-SMC. The parameter posteriors have then used to simulate viral-load based infectiousness profiles via a range of dose-response models, which illustrate the large variability of the periods of infection window observed for COVID-19.

Competing Interest Statement

The authors have declared no competing interest.

Funding Statement

This report and the research it describes were funded by the PROTECT COVID-19 National Core Study on transmission and environment, which is managed by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) on behalf of HM Government. Its contents, including any opinions and/or conclusions expressed, are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect UK Government or HSE policy.

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