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Paper   IPM / Biological Sciences / 16677
School of Biological Sciences
  Title:   Competitive exclusion during co-infection as a strategy to prevent the spread of a virus: A computational perspective
1.  Safar Vafadar
2.  Maryam Shahdoust
3.  Ata Kalirad
4.  Pooya Zakeri
5.  Mehdi Sadeghi
  Status:   Published
  Journal: Plos One
  No.:  16
  Year:  2021
  Supported by:  IPM
Inspired by the competition exclusion principle, this work aims at providing a computational framework to explore the theoretical feasibility of viral co-infection as a possible strategy to reduce the spread of a fatal strain in a population. We propose a stochastic-based model—called Co-Wish—to understand how competition between two viruses over a shared niche can affect the spread of each virus in infected tissue. To demonstrate the co-infection of two viruses, we first simulate the characteristics of two virus growth processes separately. Then, we examine their interactions until one can dominate the other. We use Co-Wish to explore how the model varies as the parameters of each virus growth process change when two viruses infect the host simultaneously. We will also investigate the effect of the delayed initiation of each infection. Moreover, Co-Wish not only examines the co-infection at the cell level but also includes the innate immune response during viral infection. The results highlight that the waiting times in the five stages of the viral infection of a cell in the model—namely attachment, penetration, eclipse, replication, and release—play an essential role in the competition between the two viruses. While it could prove challenging to fully understand the therapeutic potentials of viral co-infection, we discuss that our theoretical framework hints at an intriguing research direction in applying co-infection dynamics in controlling any viral outbreak’s speed.

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