Some basic properties of immune selection

Yoh Iwasa, Franziska Michor, Martin Nowak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-188
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 21 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Applied Mathematics


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