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

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

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  • 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.