Understanding the within-host dynamics of influenza A virus: from theory to clinical implications.
ABSTRACT: Mathematical models have provided important insights into acute viral dynamics within individual patients. In this paper, we study the simplest target cell-limited models to investigate the within-host dynamics of influenza A virus infection in humans. Despite the biological simplicity of the models, we show how these can be used to understand the severity of the infection and the key attributes of possible immunotherapy and antiviral drugs for the treatment of infection at different times post infection. Through an analytic approach, we derive and estimate simple summary biological quantities that can provide novel insights into the infection dynamics and the definition of clinical endpoints. We focus on nine quantities, including the area under the viral load curve, peak viral load, the time to peak viral load and the level of cell death due to infection. Using Markov chain Monte Carlo methods, we fitted the models to data collected from 12 untreated volunteers who participated in two clinical studies that tested the antiviral drugs oseltamivir and zanamivir. Based on the results, we also discuss various difficulties in deriving precise estimates of the parameters, even in the very simple models considered, when experimental data are limited to viral load measures and/or there is a limited number of viral load measurements post infection.
Project description:Acute viral infections pose many practical challenges for the accurate assessment of the impact of novel therapies on viral growth and decay. Using the example of influenza A, we illustrate how the measurement of infection-related quantities that determine the dynamics of viral load within the human host, can inform investigators on the course and severity of infection and the efficacy of a novel treatment. We estimated the values of key infection-related quantities that determine the course of natural infection from viral load data, using Markov Chain Monte Carlo methods. The data were placebo group viral load measurements collected during volunteer challenge studies, conducted by Roche, as part of the oseltamivir trials. We calculated the values of the quantities for each patient and the correlations between the quantities, symptom severity and body temperature. The greatest variation among individuals occurred in the viral load peak and area under the viral load curve. Total symptom severity correlated positively with the basic reproductive number. The most sensitive endpoint for therapeutic trials with the goal to cure patients is the duration of infection. We suggest laboratory experiments to obtain more precise estimates of virological quantities that can supplement clinical endpoint measurements.
Project description:Human infections with viruses of the genus Flavivirus, including dengue virus (DENV) and Zika virus (ZIKV), are of increasing global importance. Owing to antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE), secondary infection with one Flavivirus following primary infection with another Flavivirus can result in a significantly larger peak viral load with a much higher risk of severe disease. Although several mathematical models have been developed to quantify the virus dynamics in the primary and secondary infections of DENV, little progress has been made regarding secondary infection of DENV after a primary infection of ZIKV, or DENV-ZIKV co-infection. Here, we address this critical gap by developing compartmental models of virus dynamics. We first fitted the models to published data on dengue viral loads of the primary and secondary infections with the observation that the primary infection reaches its peak much more gradually than the secondary infection. We then quantitatively show that ADE is the key factor determining a sharp increase/decrease of viral load near the peak time in the secondary infection. In comparison, our simulations of DENV and ZIKV co-infection (simultaneous rather than sequential) show that ADE has very limited influence on the peak DENV viral load. This indicates pre-existing immunity to ZIKV is the determinant of a high level of ADE effect. Our numerical simulations show that (i) in the absence of ADE effect, a subsequent co-infection is beneficial to the second virus; and (ii) if ADE is feasible, then a subsequent co-infection can induce greater damage to the host with a higher peak viral load and a much earlier peak time for the second virus, and for the second peak for the first virus.
Project description:Models of within-host influenza viral dynamics have contributed to an improved understanding of viral dynamics and antiviral effects over the past decade. Existing models can be classified into two broad types based on the mechanism of viral control: models utilising target cell depletion to limit the progress of infection and models which rely on timely activation of innate and adaptive immune responses to control the infection. In this paper, we compare how two exemplar models based on these different mechanisms behave and investigate how the mechanistic difference affects the assessment and prediction of antiviral treatment. We find that the assumed mechanism for viral control strongly influences the predicted outcomes of treatment. Furthermore, we observe that for the target cell-limited model the assumed drug efficacy strongly influences the predicted treatment outcomes. The area under the viral load curve is identified as the most reliable predictor of drug efficacy, and is robust to model selection. Moreover, with support from previous clinical studies, we suggest that the target cell-limited model is more suitable for modelling in vitro assays or infection in some immunocompromised/immunosuppressed patients while the immune response model is preferred for predicting the infection/antiviral effect in immunocompetent animals/patients.
Project description:Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), an infectious disease caused by the infection of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), is spreading and causing the global coronavirus pandemic. The viral dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 infection have not been quantitatively investigated. In this paper, we use mathematical models to study the pathogenic features of SARS-CoV-2 infection by examining the interaction between the virus, cells and immune responses. Models are fit to the data of SARS-CoV-2 infection in patients and non-human primates. Data fitting and numerical simulation show that viral dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 infection have a few distinct stages. In the initial stage, viral load increases rapidly and reaches the peak, followed by a plateau phase possibly generated by lymphocytes as a secondary target of infection. In the last stage, viral load declines due to the emergence of adaptive immune responses. When the initiation of seroconversion is late or slow, the model predicts viral rebound and prolonged viral persistence, consistent with the observation in non-human primates. Using the model we also evaluate the effect of several potential therapeutic interventions for SARS-CoV-2 infection. Model simulation shows that anti-inflammatory treatments or antiviral drugs combined with interferon are effective in reducing the duration of the viral plateau phase and diminishing the time to recovery. These results provide insights for understanding the infection dynamics and might help develop treatment strategies against COVID-19.
Project description:Influenza virus infection remains a public health problem worldwide. The mechanisms underlying viral control during an uncomplicated influenza virus infection are not fully understood. Here, we developed a mathematical model including both innate and adaptive immune responses to study the within-host dynamics of equine influenza virus infection in horses. By comparing modeling predictions with both interferon and viral kinetic data, we examined the relative roles of target cell availability, and innate and adaptive immune responses in controlling the virus. Our results show that the rapid and substantial viral decline (about 2 to 4 logs within 1 day) after the peak can be explained by the killing of infected cells mediated by interferon activated cells, such as natural killer cells, during the innate immune response. After the viral load declines to a lower level, the loss of interferon-induced antiviral effect and an increased availability of target cells due to loss of the antiviral state can explain the observed short phase of viral plateau in which the viral level remains unchanged or even experiences a minor second peak in some animals. An adaptive immune response is needed in our model to explain the eventual viral clearance. This study provides a quantitative understanding of the biological factors that can explain the viral and interferon kinetics during a typical influenza virus infection.
Project description:The mortality of human infection by influenza A/H5N1 virus can exceed 80%. The high mortality and its poor response to the neuraminidase inhibitor oseltamivir have been attributed to uncontrolled virus-induced cytokine storm. We challenged BALB/c mice with 1,000 LD50 of influenza A/Vietnam/1194/04. Survival, body weight, histopathology, inflammatory markers, viral loads, T lymphocyte counts, and neutralizing antibody response were documented in infected mice treated individually or in combination with zanamvir, celecoxib, gemfibrozil, and mesalazine. To imitate the real-life scenario, treatment was initiated at 48 h after viral challenge. There were significant improvements in survival rate (P = 0.02), survival time (P < 0.02), and inflammatory markers (P < 0.01) in the group treated with a triple combination of zanamivir, celecoxib, and mesalazine when compared with zanamivir alone. Zanamivir with or without immunomodulators reduced viral load to a similar extent. Insignificant prolongation of survival was observed when individual agents were used alone. Significantly higher levels of CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes and less pulmonary inflammation were also found in the group receiving triple therapy. Zanamivir alone reduced viral load but not inflammation and mortality. The survival benefits of adding celecoxib and mesalazine to zanamivir could be caused by their synergistic effects in reducing cytokine dysfunction and preventing apoptosis. Combinations of a neuraminidase inhibitor with these immunomodulators should be considered in randomized controlled treatment trials of patients suffering from H5N1 infection.
Project description:Within-host models are useful tools for understanding the processes regulating viral load dynamics. While existing models have considered a wide range of within-host processes, at their core these models have shown remarkable structural similarity. Specifically, the structure of these models generally consider target cells to be either uninfected or infected, with the possibility of accommodating further resolution (e.g. cells that are in an eclipse phase). Recent findings, however, indicate that cellular coinfection is the norm rather than the exception for many viral infectious diseases, and that cells with high multiplicity of infection are present over at least some duration of an infection. The reality of these cellular coinfection dynamics is not accommodated in current within-host models although it may be critical for understanding within-host dynamics. This is particularly the case if multiplicity of infection impacts infected cell phenotypes such as their death rate and their viral production rates. Here, we present a new class of within-host disease models that allow for cellular coinfection in a scalable manner by retaining the low-dimensionality that is a desirable feature of many current within-host models. The models we propose adopt the general structure of epidemiological 'macroparasite' models that allow hosts to be variably infected by parasites such as nematodes and host phenotypes to flexibly depend on parasite burden. Specifically, our within-host models consider target cells as 'hosts' and viral particles as 'macroparasites', and allow viral output and infected cell lifespans, among other phenotypes, to depend on a cell's multiplicity of infection. We show with an application to influenza that these models can be statistically fit to viral load and other within-host data, and demonstrate using model selection approaches that they have the ability to outperform traditional within-host viral dynamic models. Important in vivo quantities such as the mean multiplicity of cellular infection and time-evolving reassortant frequencies can also be quantified in a straightforward manner once these macroparasite models have been parameterized. The within-host model structure we develop here provides a mathematical way forward to address questions related to the roles of cellular coinfection, collective viral interactions, and viral complementation in within-host viral dynamics and evolution.
Project description:Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a positive single-stranded RNA virus of enormous global health importance, with direct-acting antiviral therapies replacing an immunostimulatory interferon-based regimen. The dynamics of HCV positive and negative-strand viral RNAs (vRNAs) under antiviral perturbations have not been studied at the single-cell level, leaving a gap in our understanding of antiviral kinetics and host-virus interactions. Here, we demonstrate quantitative imaging of HCV genomes in multiple infection models, and multiplexing of positive and negative strand vRNAs and host antiviral RNAs. We capture the varying kinetics with which antiviral drugs with different mechanisms of action clear HCV infection, finding the NS5A inhibitor daclatasvir to induce a rapid decline in negative-strand viral RNAs. We also find that the induction of host antiviral genes upon interferon treatment is positively correlated with viral load in single cells. This study adds smFISH to the toolbox available for analyzing the treatment of RNA virus infections.
Project description:In recent years, the within-host viral dynamics of dengue infections have been increasingly characterized, and the relationship between aspects of these dynamics and the manifestation of severe disease has been increasingly probed. Despite this progress, there are few mathematical models of within-host dengue dynamics, and the ones that exist focus primarily on the general role of immune cells in the clearance of infected cells, while neglecting other components of the immune response in limiting viraemia. Here, by considering a suite of mathematical within-host dengue models of increasing complexity, we aim to isolate the critical components of the innate and the adaptive immune response that suffice in the reproduction of several well-characterized features of primary and secondary dengue infections. By building up from a simple target cell limited model, we show that only the innate immune response is needed to recover the characteristic features of a primary symptomatic dengue infection, while a higher rate of viral infectivity (indicative of antibody-dependent enhancement) and infected cell clearance by T cells are further needed to recover the characteristic features of a secondary dengue infection. We show that these minimal models can reproduce the increased risk of disease associated with secondary heterologous infections that arises as a result of a cytokine storm, and, further, that they are consistent with virological indicators that predict the onset of severe disease, such as the magnitude of peak viraemia, time to peak viral load, and viral clearance rate. Finally, we show that the effectiveness of these virological indicators to predict the onset of severe disease depends on the contribution of T cells in fuelling the cytokine storm.
Project description:Mathematical models that describe infection kinetics help elucidate the time scales, effectiveness, and mechanisms underlying viral growth and infection resolution. For influenza A virus (IAV) infections, the standard viral kinetic model has been used to investigate the effect of different IAV proteins, immune mechanisms, antiviral actions, and bacterial coinfection, among others. We sought to further define the kinetics of IAV infections by infecting mice with influenza A/PR8 and measuring viral loads with high frequency and precision over the course of infection. The data highlighted dynamics that were not previously noted, including viral titers that remain elevated for several days during mid-infection and a sharp 4-5 log10 decline in virus within 1 day as the infection resolves. The standard viral kinetic model, which has been widely used within the field, could not capture these dynamics. Thus, we developed a new model that could simultaneously quantify the different phases of viral growth and decay with high accuracy. The model suggests that the slow and fast phases of virus decay are due to the infected cell clearance rate changing as the density of infected cells changes. To characterize this model, we fit the model to the viral load data, examined the parameter behavior, and connected the results and parameters to linear regression estimates. The resulting parameters and model dynamics revealed that the rate of viral clearance during resolution occurs 25 times faster than the clearance during mid-infection and that small decreases to this rate can significantly prolong the infection. This likely reflects the high efficiency of the adaptive immune response. The new model provides a well-characterized representation of IAV infection dynamics, is useful for analyzing and interpreting viral load dynamics in the absence of immunological data, and gives further insight into the regulation of viral control.