Laura Liao (Ryerson University)
Defective interfering particles (DIPs) are imperfect virus which get spontaneously generated and amplified over the course of a viral infection. DIPs interfere with virus replication and suppress production of virus. Effective management of DIPs would be a boon to health technologies, such as vaccine production, where high viral yields are desirable. Furthermore, if their kinetics was better understood, DIPs could be exploited as an antiviral measure to suppress infection. Unfortunately, the quantification of DIPs -- which is necessary to their study -- is difficult since they are indistinguishable from standard virus. Using a mathematical model, we investigate a conventional method for counting DIPs. Under various assumptions regarding the mechanisms of co-infection of cells by DIPs and standard virus, we show that accurate quantification of DIPs is sensitive to changes in experimental procedure, and we suggest improvements to the current method.