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Med Hypotheses ; 146: 110431, 2021 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-969787


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. We suggest research avenues to validate the hypothesis. If proven, our hypothesis could strengthen the scientific basis for deciding priority containment measures in various contexts in particular the importance of avoiding super-spreading events and the benefits of mass masking.

COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , Models, Biological , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Viral Load/physiology , Adaptive Immunity , COVID-19/immunology , Host Microbial Interactions/immunology , Host Microbial Interactions/physiology , Humans , Immunity, Innate , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Severity of Illness Index
BMJ Glob Health ; 5(7)2020 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-689115


It is very exceptional that a new disease becomes a true pandemic. Since its emergence in Wuhan, China, in late 2019, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes COVID-19, has spread to nearly all countries of the world in only a few months. However, in different countries, the COVID-19 epidemic takes variable shapes and forms in how it affects communities. Until now, the insights gained on COVID-19 have been largely dominated by the COVID-19 epidemics and the lockdowns in China, Europe and the USA. But this variety of global trajectories is little described, analysed or understood. In only a few months, an enormous amount of scientific evidence on SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 has been uncovered (knowns). But important knowledge gaps remain (unknowns). Learning from the variety of ways the COVID-19 epidemic is unfolding across the globe can potentially contribute to solving the COVID-19 puzzle. This paper tries to make sense of this variability-by exploring the important role that context plays in these different COVID-19 epidemics; by comparing COVID-19 epidemics with other respiratory diseases, including other coronaviruses that circulate continuously; and by highlighting the critical unknowns and uncertainties that remain. These unknowns and uncertainties require a deeper understanding of the variable trajectories of COVID-19. Unravelling them will be important for discerning potential future scenarios, such as the first wave in virgin territories still untouched by COVID-19 and for future waves elsewhere.

Coronavirus Infections , Global Health , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , China/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Coronavirus Infections/transmission , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Europe/epidemiology , Humans , Infection Control , Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype , Influenza Pandemic, 1918-1919 , Influenza, Human , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/transmission , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , United States/epidemiology