Ajelli, Litvinova work with NIH and China's Fudan University, among others
On November 24, the journal Science published "Transmission heterogeneities, kinetics, and controllability of SARS-CoV-2," authored in part by Associate Professor Marco Ajelli and Post Doctoral Fellow Maria Litvinova from Indiana University's School of Public Health-Bloomington.
Using epidemiological records for nearly 20,000 SARS-CoV-2 exposure events—including cases of infection and close contacts with infected people—the researchers reconstructed viral transmission chains for SARS-CoV-2 infections which occurred in Hunan Province between January 16 and April 3, 2020.
Data analyses highlighted key differences in the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV-1. Such differences in transmission were driven by "demographic, clinical and behavioral factors" which, in turn, could affect the impact of different kinds of interventions. For instance, the study authors note, "In contrast to SARS-CoV-1, the ability of SARS-CoV-2 to transmit during the host's pre-symptomatic phase makes it particularly difficult to achieve epidemic control."
Ajelli and Litvinova collaborated with researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Division of International Epidemiology and Population Studies; the Institute for Scientific Interchange (ISI) Foundation in Turin Italy; Fudan University's School of Public Health in Shanghai, China; and the Hunan Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Changsha, China.
"This research is helping to move our collective understanding of the novel coronavirus forward more rapidly, and it is heartening to know that our school’s scholars are playing a part in that. We are very proud of Drs. Ajelli and Litvinova," says IU School of Public Health Dean David B. Allison.
Public health officials may be able to use the researchers' work when developing future strategies to contain SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV-1. The authors continue, "Our risk factor estimates can provide useful evidence to guide the design of more targeted and sustainable mitigation strategies."
Access to "Transmission heterogeneities, kinetics, and controllability of SARS-CoV-2" is free and available to the public online via https://science.sciencemag.org/lookup/doi/10.1126/science.abe2424.