Incomplete host immunity favors the evolution of virulence in an emergent pathogen

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  02 Mar 2018:
Vol. 359, Issue 6379, pp. 1030-1033
DOI: 10.1126/science.aao2140

eLetters is an online forum for ongoing peer review. Submission of eLetters are open to all. eLetters are not edited, proofread, or indexed.  Please read our Terms of Service before submitting your own eLetter.

Compose eLetter

Plain text

  • Plain text
    No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Author Information
First or given name, e.g. 'Peter'.
Your last, or family, name, e.g. 'MacMoody'.
Your email address, e.g.
Your role and/or occupation, e.g. 'Orthopedic Surgeon'.
Your organization or institution (if applicable), e.g. 'Royal Free Hospital'.
Statement of Competing Interests

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Enter the characters shown in the image.

Vertical Tabs

  • RE: This paper describes a probably generally-applicable paradigm
    • Vidya Rajan, College professor, Delaware County Community College

    This paper describes a model of two-pathogen infection of house finches. The model shows that, over time, incomplete immunity to the more virulent form drives ever-increasing pathogen virulence.
    I think that this paradigm can be applied to more than biological pathogens infecting a host.
    I cannot help but make a connection to political dialog worldwide. A virulent form of nationalism is emerging worldwide, and incomplete immunity of the body politic is catalyzing the emergence of progressively more noxious dialogue and players. It is instructive to think that the previous (1930s) emergence of virulent nationalism was cured by eradication by war of the Axis powers by the Allies.
    It is sobering to think that eradication of the pathogen by the immune system may be only until a new virulence mechanism arises.
    Vaccinations, anyone?

    Competing Interests: None declared.