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The WHO considers leishmaniasis as one of the six most important tropical diseases worldwide. It is caused by parasites of the genus Leishmania that are passed on to humans and animals by the phlebotomine sandfly. Despite all of the research, there is still a lack of understanding on the metabolism of the parasite and the progression of the disease. In this study, a mathematical model of disease progression was developed based on experimental data of clinical symptoms, immunological responses, and parasite load for Leishmania amazonensis in BALB/c mice.
Four biologically significant variables were chosen to develop a differential equation model based on the GMA power-law formalism. Parameters were determined to minimize error in the model dynamics and time series experimental data. Subsequently, the model robustness was tested and the model predictions were verified by comparing them with experimental observations made in different experimental conditions. The model obtained helps to quantify relationships between the selected variables, leads to a better understanding of disease progression, and aids in the identification of crucial points for introducing therapeutic methods.
Our model can be used to identify the biological factors that must be changed to minimize parasite load in the host body, and contributes to the design of effective therapies.