SARS-CoV-2 Dynamics in the Mucus Layer of the Human Upper Respiratory Tract Based on Host–Cell Dynamics

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A thorough understanding of the inhalation dynamics of infectious aerosols indoors and infection dynamics within the host by inhaled viruses such as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) plays an important role in the assessment and control of infection risks indoors. Here, by combining computational fluid–particle dynamics (CFPD) and host–cell dynamics (HCD), SARS-CoV-2 infection dynamics in the mucus layer of the human upper airway were studied. To reproduce the diffusive and convective transport of the virus in the nasal cavity–nasopharynx by mucociliary motion, a three-dimensional (3D)-shell model with a mucus layer was developed. The initial virus concentrations for HCD calculation were estimated based on the deposition distribution of droplets with representative sizes analyzed by CFPD. To develop a new HCD model, the target-celllimited model was integrated with the convection–diffusion equation. Additionally, the sensitivity of the infection rate β to the infection dynamics was systematically investigated. The results showed that the time series of SARS-CoV-2 concentration in the mucus layer strongly depended on diffusion, convection, and β. Although the SARS-CoV-2 dynamics obtained here have not been verified by corresponding clinical data, they can preliminarily reveal its transmission mode in the upper airway, which will contribute to the prevention and treatment of coronavirus disease 2019.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3896
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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