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The impact of cell regeneration on the dynamics of viral coinfection.

Abstract

Many mathematical models of respiratory viral infections do not include regeneration of cells within the respiratory tract, arguing that the infection is resolved before there is significant cellular regeneration. However, recent studies have found that ∼40% of patients hospitalized with influenza-like illness are infected with at least two different viruses, which could potentially lead to longer-lasting infections. In these longer infections, cell regeneration might affect the infection dynamics, in particular, allowing for the possibility of chronic coinfections. Several mathematical models have been used to describe cell regeneration in infection models, though the effect of model choice on the predicted time course of viral coinfections is not clear. We investigate four mathematical models incorporating different mechanisms of cell regeneration during respiratory viral coinfection to determine the effect of cell regeneration on infection dynamics. We perform linear stability analysis for each of the models and find the steady states analytically. The analysis suggests that chronic illness is possible but only with one viral species; chronic coexistence of two different viral species is not possible with the regeneration models considered here.

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