MDPI, Biology, 1(10), p. 10, 2020
Background: Starting late 2019, a novel coronavirus spread from the capital of the Hubei province in China to the rest of the country, then to most of the world. To anticipate future trends in the development of the pandemic, we explore here, based on public records of infected persons, how variation in the virus tropism could end up in different patterns, warranting a specific strategy to handle the epidemic. Methods: We use a compartmental model to describe the evolution of an individual through several possible states: susceptible, infected, alternative infection, detected, and removed. We fit the parameters of the model to the existing data, taking into account significant quarantine changes where necessary. Results: The model indicates that Wuhan quarantine measures were effective, but that alternative virus forms and a second propagation route are compatible with available data. For the Hong Kong, Singapore, and Shenzhen regions, the secondary route does not seem to be active. Conclusions: Hypotheses of an alternative infection tropism (the gut tropism) and a secondary propagation route are discussed using a model fitted by the available data. Corresponding prevention measures that take into account both routes should be implemented to the benefit of epidemic control.