Multi-scale Modeling and Viral Pandemics (11/04/2021)

Ulrich Schwarz, University of Heidelberg, GE. Title: Multiscale modelling of malaria parasites.

Stanca Ciupe, Virginia Tech. Title: The role of testing in COVID-19 control.
Institution/ Affiliation
Ulrich Schwarz, University of Heidelberg, GE.

Stanca Ciupe, Virginia Tech.
Presentation Details (date, conference, etc.)

November 4, 2021, IMAG/MSM WG on Multiscale Modeling and Viral Pandemics

  1. Ulrich Schwarz, Univ. Heidelberg, Germany. Title: Multiscale modeling of malaria parasites. Abstract: Malaria has been called the most devastating disease every experienced by mankind. Although today we have efficient drugs and even a first vaccine, it still kills around 400.000 people every year. Because the malaria parasite goes through so many different stages during its journey through the mosquito and human hosts, modeling efforts have to focus on specific aspects of high biological and medical relevance. Here we focus on the skin stage, when the parasite has the form of slender and crescent sporozoites. After release into the host skin during a mosquito blood meal, the malaria sporozoite quickly moves through the connective tissue in search of blood vessels. On a flat substrate, single cells follow circular trajectories with stick-and-slip motion. Using pillar arrays and agent-based computer simulations, we show how this circular motion is converted into different motion patterns that depend on the geometrical properties of the environment. We also study sporozoite movement in the context of large rotating collectives extracted from mosquito salivary glands. Quantitative image processing and agent-based modeling reveal that sporozoites are sorted in these vortices according to their curvatures and speeds, and that this phenomenon strongly depends on its mechanical flexibility. We conclude that this flexibility is an essential element for malaria sporozoites to move in mechanically challenging environments. YouTube and Slides.
  2. Stanca Ciupe, Virginia Tech. Title: The role of testing in COVID-19 control. Abstract: Vaccination is considered the best strategy for limiting and eliminating the COVID-19 pandemic. The success of this strategy relies on the rate of vaccine deployment and acceptance across the globe. As these efforts are being conducted, the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus is continuously mutating, which leads to the emergence of variants with increased transmissibility, virulence, and lower response to vaccines. One important question is whether surveillance testing is still needed in order to limit SARS-CoV-2 transmission in an increasingly vaccinated population. In this talk, I will present multi-scale mathematical models of SARS-CoV-2 transmission, and use them to determine the effects of vaccine uptake; surveillance testing with tests of different sensitivity, cost, testing frequency, and delay in test return; and testing strategies in limiting an outbreak with alpha and delta variants. YouTube and Slides.