COVID-19: Does the Infectious Inoculum Dose-Response Relationship Contribute to Understanding Heterogeneity in Disease Severity and Transmission Dynamics?
21 Pages Posted: 17 Jul 2020 Last revised: 3 Aug 2020
Date Written: July 13, 2020
The variation in the speed and intensity of SARS-CoV-2 transmission and severity of the resulting COVID-19 disease are still imperfectly understood. We postulate a dose-response relationship in COVID-19, and that “the dose of virus in the initial inoculum” is an important missing link in understanding several incompletely explained observations in COVID-19 as a factor in transmission dynamics and severity of disease. We hypothesize that:
(1) Viral dose in inoculum is related to severity of disease,
(2) Severity of disease is related to transmission potential, and
(3) In certain contexts, chains of severe cases can build up to severe local outbreaks, and large-scale intensive epidemics.
Considerable evidence from other infectious diseases substantiates this hypothesis and recent evidence from COVID-19 points in the same direction. If proven, our hypothesis could explain several of these lacunae in understanding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and strengthen the scientific basis for deciding priority containment measures in various contexts.
Keywords: SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19, Dose of the Initial Inoculum
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