The non-pharmaceutical interventions may affect the advantage in transmission of mutated variants during epidemics: A conceptual model for COVID-19

Shi Zhao*, Kai Wang, Marc K.C. Chong, Salihu S. Musa, Mu He, Lefei Han, Daihai He, Maggie H. Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, genetic mutations in SARS-CoV-2 emerge, and some of them are found more contagious than the previously identified strains, acting as the major mechanism for many large-scale epidemics. The transmission advantage of mutated variants is widely believed as an innate biological feature that is difficult to be altered by artificial factors. In this study, we explore how non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPI) may affect transmission advantage. A two-strain compartmental epidemic model is proposed and simulated to investigate the biological mechanism of the relationships among different NPIs, the changes in transmissibility of each strain and transmission advantage. Although the NPIs are effective in flattening the epidemic curve, we demonstrate that NPIs probably lead to a decline in transmission advantage, which is likely to occur if the NPIs become intensive. Our findings uncover the mechanistic relationship between NPIs and transmission advantage dynamically, and highlight the important role of NPIs not only in controlling the intensity of epidemics but also in slowing or even containing the growth of the proportion of variants.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111105
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Volume542
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jun 2022

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Mathematical modelling
  • Non-pharmaceutical intervention
  • Reproduction number
  • Transmission advantage

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