The goal of this study was to develop a mathematical model to simulate the actions of drugs that target SARS-CoV-2 virus infection. To accomplish that goal, we have developed a mathematical model that describes the control of a SARS-CoV-2 infection by the innate and adaptive immune components. Invasion of the virus triggers the innate immunity, whereby interferon renders some of the target cells resistant to infection, and infected cells are removed by effector cells. The adaptive immune response is represented by plasma cells and virus-specific antibodies. The model is parameterized and then validated against viral load measurements collected in COVID-19 patients. We apply the model to simulate three potential anti-SARS-CoV-2 therapies: (1) Remdesivir, a repurposed drug that has been shown to inhibit the transcription of SARS-CoV-2, (2) an alternative (hypothetical) therapy that inhibits the virus’ entry into host cells, and (3) convalescent plasma transfusion therapy. Simulation results point to the importance of early intervention, i.e., for any of the three therapies to be effective, it must be administered sufficiently early, not more than a day or two after the onset of symptoms. The model can serve as a key component in integrative platforms for rapid in silico testing of potential COVID-19 therapies and vaccines.
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