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29 March 2019, 11:57
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Scientists have described a spatial model of the spread of HIV

Scientists have described a spatial model of the spread of HIV - picture 1

A group of scientists from the University of Friendship of Peoples (RUDN) presented a unique spatial model of the spread of the immunodeficiency virus in the human body. The mathematicians who published the results of their work in the journal Journal of Theoretical Biology analyzed the increase in the HIV population taking into account the time factor and immunity resistance. According to experts, their findings will be useful both in the diagnosis of HIV and in the study of a number of other viruses: herpes, measles, etc.

Today, there are many models in the world that describe the process of the spread of the virus and its interaction with cells. However, almost in each of them, experts accept “reservations”, “approximations”, which, in the end, can have a significant impact on the final result of the mechanism of HIV exposure.

A group of mathematicians and microbiologists from RUDN University proposed a new model, unlike the previous ones, which takes into account the extremely important aspect of the interaction of cells and the virus - spatial distribution.

The model itself, being a kind of “generalization” for the previous schemes, is a system of differential equations that describe the evolution of the viral population and cells of the immune system in time and space.

The “universality” property allows the mathematical system not only to see previously unnoticed aspects of the development of HIV infection, but also to be used to study other viruses.

Studying the mechanism of HIV in the body, the researchers identified 3 possible outcomes of infection:

  • curable when the virus can be suppressed;
  • weak chronic, when HIV persists in the body along with a chronic immune response
  • severe chronic, when the immune system is depleted and the viral load grows

The authors performed a detailed analysis of each of the outcomes and found a relationship between the spread of HIV and its interaction with the host cell.

“From the point of view of mathematical modeling, the spread of infection throughout a cell culture or tissue is described by solutions such as a traveling wave of reaction-diffusion equations. We investigated this issue taking into account the interaction of viral infection with immune cells. This kind of interaction occurs when viruses can infect the immune response cells (lymphocytes) and multiply in them. The most famous example of such a virus is HIV. But this also applies to other viruses, such as herpes, myxovirus, measles, ”commented the results of Vitaly Volpert, author of the article, head of the laboratory of mathematical modeling in biomedicine of the RUDN University.

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