Faculty Advisor: Steven Krone and Jim Bull
Modeling a novel viral intervention strategy: Defective Interfering Particles (DIPs)
Defective Interfering Particles (DIPs) are viruses that arise from deletion mutations during viral replication within a host cell. All viruses produce some defective variants. DIPs cannot replicate themselves independently, but require co-infection with non-defective versions of the virus. Such co-infected cells produce almost exclusively DIP progeny, leading to some suppression of the original virus through predator-prey-like dynamics. We use simple differential equation models to study the dynamics of DIPs and wild-type viruses in the presence of adaptive and innate immunity. Our goal is to understand whether therapeutic administration of DIPs will augment or interfere with the immune response and, in the former case, we seek to provide guidance on how virus suppression is affected by infection and clearance parameters, as well as by the timing of DIP introduction. We find that DIPs can create a significant impact on the total and maximum viral abundance and that timing matters. While the application of DIPs to overcome viruses is still in preclinical stages, mathematical predictions can guide potential therapeutic uses.