Viral evolution under the pressure of an adaptive immune system

Based on a recent model of evolving viruses competing with an adapting immune system (Kamp and Bornholdt, Co-evolution of quasispecies: B-cell mutation rates maximize viral error catastrophes. Phys Rev Lett 88, 2002), we study the conditions under which a viral quasispecies can maximize its growth rate. We find that a virus is most viable if it generates on average precisely one mutation within the time it takes for the immune system to adapt to a new viral epitope. Experimental viral mutation rates, in particular for HIV (human immunodefi- ciency virus), seem to suggest that many viruses have achieved their optimal mutation rate.

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About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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