A systems and treatment perspective of models of influenza virus-induced host responses


Severe influenza infections are often characterized as having unique host responses (e.g., early, severe hypercytokinemia). Neuraminidase inhibitors can be effective in controlling the severe symptoms of influenza but are often not administered until late in the infection. Several studies suggest that immune modulation may offer protection to high risk groups. Here, we review the current state of mathematical models of influenza-induced host responses. Selecting three models with conserved immune response components, we determine if the immune system components which most affect virus replication when perturbed are conserved across the models. We also test each model’s response to a pre-induction of interferon before the virus is administered. We find that each model emphasizes the importance of controlling the infected cell population to control viral replication. Moreover, our work shows that the structure of current models does not allow for significant responses to increased interferon concentrations. These results suggest that the current library of available published models of influenza infection does not adequately represent the complex interactions of the virus, interferon, and other aspects of the immune response. Specifically, the method used to model virus-resistant cells may need to be adapted in future work to more realistically represent the immune response to viral infection.

MDPI Processes
Emily E. Ackerman
Emily E. Ackerman
Ph.D. Candidate

Sixth year Ph.D candidate in Chemical Engineering looking toward a future professorship with special interest in the advancement of underrepresented groups