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Increased burst size in multiply infected cells can alter basic virus dynamics

DOI: 10.1186/1745-6150-7-16

Keywords: Multiple infection of cells, Increased burst size, HIV, Mathematical models, Virus dynamics

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Here, we explore the alternative assumption that multiply infected cells are characterized by an increased burst size and find that this can fundamentally alter model predictions. Under this scenario, establishment of infection may not be solely determined by the basic reproductive ratio of the virus, but can depend on the initial virus load. Upon infection, the virus population need not follow straight exponential growth. Instead, the exponential rate of growth can increase over time as virus load becomes larger. Moreover, the model suggests that the ability of anti-viral drugs to suppress the virus population can depend on the virus load upon initiation of therapy. This is because more coinfected cells, which produce more virus, are present at higher virus loads. Hence, the degree of drug resistance is not only determined by the viral genotype, but also by the prevalence of coinfected cells.Our work shows how an increased burst size in multiply infected cells can alter basic infection dynamics. This forms the basis for future experimental testing of model assumptions and predictions that can distinguish between the different scenarios.This article was reviewed by RJdeB, RMR and MK.


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