Design considerations in building in silico equivalents of common experimental influenza virus assays

Autoimmunity. 2011 Jun;44(4):282-93. doi: 10.3109/08916934.2011.523267. Epub 2011 Jan 19.


Experimentation in vitro is a vital part of the process by which the clinical and epidemiological characteristics of a particular influenza virus strain are determined. We detail the considerations which must be made in designing appropriate theoretical/mathematical models of these experiments and show how modeling can increase the information output of such experiments. Starting from a traditional system of ordinary differential equations, common to infectious disease modeling, we broaden the approach by using an agent-based model, applicable to more general experimental geometries and assumptions about the biological properties of viruses, cell and their interaction. Within this framework, we explore the limits of the assumptions made by more traditional models and the conditions under which these assumptions begin to break down, requiring the use of more sophisticated models. We apply the agent-based model to experimental plaque growth of two influenza strains, one resistant to the antiviral oseltamivir, and extract the values of key infection parameters specific to each strain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiviral Agents / pharmacology
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • Computer Simulation*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological*
  • Orthomyxoviridae / drug effects
  • Orthomyxoviridae / growth & development*
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections / drug therapy
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections / virology
  • Viral Plaque Assay


  • Antiviral Agents