Understanding the viral dynamics of and natural immunity to the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 is crucial for devising better therapeutic and prevention strategies for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Here, we present a Bayesian hierarchical model that jointly estimates the genomic RNA viral load, the subgenomic RNA (sgRNA) viral load (correlated to active viral replication), and the rate and timing of seroconversion (correlated to presence of antibodies). Our proposed method accounts for the dynamical relationship and correlation structure between the two types of viral load, allows for borrowing of information between viral load and antibody data, and identifies potential correlates of viral load characteristics and propensity for seroconversion. We demonstrate the features of the joint model through application to the COVID-19 post-exposure prophylaxis study and conduct a cross-validation exercise to illustrate the model’s ability to impute the sgRNA viral trajectories for people who only had genomic RNA viral load data.

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