The role of Type I interferons in the pathogenesis of foot-and-mouth disease virus in cattle: A mathematical modelling analysis

Type I interferons (IFN) are the first line of immune response against infection. In this study, we explore the interaction between Type I IFN and foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV), focusing on the effect of this interaction on epithelial cell death. While several mathematical models have explored the interaction between interferon and viruses at a systemic level, with most of the work undertaken on influenza and hepatitis C, these cannot investigate why a virus such as FMDV causes extensive cell death in some epithelial tissues leading to the development of lesions, while other infected epithelial tissues exhibit negligible cell death. Our study shows how a model that includes epithelial tissue structure can explain the development of lesions in some tissues and their absence in others. Furthermore, we show how the site of viral entry in an epithelial tissue, the viral replication rate, IFN production, suppression of viral replication by IFN and IFN release by live cells, all have a major impact on results.

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