Viral Competition

How infection rate determines virus spread

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Science  15 Aug 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6198, pp. 783
DOI: 10.1126/science.345.6198.783-f

When a virus attacks a plant, it can damage cells locally or it can spread to the entire plant through the vasculature. Viral spread increases the odds that the virus could jump to other plants. To better understand this process, Rodrigo et al. mathematically modeled the timing and features that contribute to viral spead. They also watched viruses infect plants in experiments. A virus was sure to spread systemically when it infected many sites on the plant, and the most successful viruses were the ones that replicated the fastest, not the ones that spread quickly from cell to cell. But with a more moderate number of infection sites, rapid jumping between cells determined success.

J. R. Soc. Interface 11, 20140555 (2014).

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