Microscopic dynamics modeling unravels the role of asymptomatic virus carriers in SARS-CoV-2 epidemics at the interplay between biological and social factors
The recent experience of SARS-CoV-2 epidemics spreading revealed the importance of passive forms of infection transmissions. Apart from the virus survival outside the host, the latent infection transmissions caused by asymptomatic and presymptomatic hosts represent major challenges for controlling the epidemics. In this regard, social mixing and various biological factors play their subtle, but often critical, role. For example, a life-threatening condition may result in the infection contracted from an asymptomatic virus carrier.
Here, we use a new recently developed microscopic agent-based modelling framework to shed light on the role of asymptomatic hosts and unravel the interplay between the biological and social factors of these nonlinear stochastic processes at high temporal resolution. The model accounts for each human actor’s susceptibility and the virus survival time, as well as traceability along the infection path. These properties enable an efficient dissection of the infection events caused by asymptomatic carriers from those which involve symptomatic hosts before they develop symptoms and become removed to a controlled environment. Consequently, we assess how their relative proportions in the overall infection curve vary with changing model parameters.
Our results reveal that these proportions largely depend on biological factors in the process, specifically, the virus transmissibility and the critical threshold for developing symptoms, which can be affected by the virus pathogenicity. Meanwhile, social participation activity is crucial for the overall infection level, further modulated by the virus transmissibility.
B. Tadic, R. Melnik, Microscopic dynamics modeling unravels the role of asymptomatic virus carriers in SARS-CoV-2 epidemics at the interplay between biological and social factors, Computers in Biology and Medicine 133 (2021) 104422