Preprint Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Collective Clustering Dynamics of SARS-COV-2 Particles

Version 1 : Received: 16 April 2020 / Approved: 17 April 2020 / Online: 17 April 2020 (08:30:13 CEST)

How to cite: Tozzi, A.; Peters, J.F.; Annesi-Maesano, I.; D'Amato, G. Collective Clustering Dynamics of SARS-COV-2 Particles. Preprints 2020, 2020040296 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202004.0296.v1). Tozzi, A.; Peters, J.F.; Annesi-Maesano, I.; D'Amato, G. Collective Clustering Dynamics of SARS-COV-2 Particles. Preprints 2020, 2020040296 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202004.0296.v1).

Abstract

Collective spread of aggregated viral particles may have beneficial effects on viral capability to survive in the external environment, to counteract immune responses, and to successfully colonize host cells. Here we ask whether SARS-Cov-2 particles, responsible for COVID-19, display collective clustering behavior. Looking at microphotographs and movies of SARS-Cov-2 particles emerging from the surface of cultured cells, we describe single virions that tend to aggregate in progressively larger globular assemblies, until a network-like appearance is achieved. When SARS-Cov-2 particles stick into each other, the squeezing of single virions leads to improved viral package in host’s fluids. We discuss how these findings might explain both the ability to spread of SARS-Cov-2 and the clinical severity of COVID-19 in humans, paving the way to novel therapeutic strategies to mechanically disrupt collective clustering.

Subject Areas

COVID-19; supernatant; sphere packing; electron microscopy; clustering

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