PT - JOURNAL ARTICLE
AU - Xu, Zhaobin
AU - Zeng, Qiangcheng
TI - More or less deadly? A mathematical model that predicts SARS-CoV-2 evolutionary direction
AID - 10.1101/2022.03.10.483726
DP - 2022 Jan 01
TA - bioRxiv
PG - 2022.03.10.483726
4099 - http://biorxiv.org/content/early/2022/03/10/2022.03.10.483726.short
4100 - http://biorxiv.org/content/early/2022/03/10/2022.03.10.483726.full
AB - SARS-CoV-2 has caused tremendous deaths world wild. It is of great value to predict the evolutionary direction of SARS-CoV-2. In this paper, we proposed a novel mathematical model that could predict the evolutionary trend of SARS-CoV-2. We focus on the mutational effects on viral assembly capacity. A robust coarse-grained mathematical model is constructed to simulate the virus dynamics in the host body. Both virulence and transmissibility can be quantified in this model. The relationship between virulence and transmissibility can be simulated. A delicate equilibrium point that optimizing the transmissibility can be numerically obtained. Based on this model, we predict the virulence of SARS-CoV-2 might further decrease, accompanied by an enhancement of transmissibility. However, this trend is not continuous; its virulence will not disappear but remains at a relatively stable range. We can also explain the cross-species transmission phenomenon of certain RNA virus based on this model. A small-scale model which simulates the virus packing process is also proposed. It can be explained why a small number of mutations would lead to a significant divergence in clinical performance, both in the overall particle formation quantity and virulence. This research provides a mathematical attempt to elucidate the evolutionary driving force in RNA virus evolution.Competing Interest StatementThe authors have declared no competing interest.