Iwasa Y, Michor F, Nowak M. 2004. Some basic properties of immune selection. Journal of theoretical biology. 229(2):179-88. Pubmed: 15207473


We analyze models for the evolutionary dynamics of viral or other infectious agents within a host. We study how the invasion of a new strain affects the composition and diversity of the viral population. We show that--under strain-specific immunity--the equilibrium abundance of uninfected cells declines during viral evolution. In addition, for cytotoxic immunity the absolute force of infection, and for non-cytotoxic immunity the absolute cellular virulence increases during viral evolution. We prove global stability by means of Lyapunov functions. These unidirectional trends of virus evolution under immune selection do not hold for general cross-reactive immune responses, which introduce frequency-dependent selection among viral strains. Therefore, appropriate cross-reactive immunity can lead to a viral evolution within a host which limits the extent of the disease.

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Franziska Michor uses the tools of theoretical evolutionary biology, applied mathematics, statistics, and computational biology to address important questions in cancer research.

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