Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Herpes viruses hedge their bets: latency boosts survival

31.10.2002


Herpes viruses have two infectious phases: one just after infecting a new host, and one years or decades later when they reactivate.



According Michael Stumpf (UCL), Zoe Laidlaw (University of Sheffield), and Vincent Jansen (Royal Holloway, University of London), that latency period evolved because it allows the viruses to flourish when the availability of hosts from year to year is highly unpredictable.

Until now, scientists have thought that viruses like herpes simplex 1 and 2, Epstein-Barr virus, and varicella zoster virus, which causes chickenpox and shingles, had evolved latency periods in order to allow them to survive in small host populations.


The new research offers an alternative explanation: the viruses are hedging their bets against the possibility that a sudden outbreak immunises a large part of the population thus drastically reducing the pool of potential hosts. Even in large populations this makes the world very unpredictable from the point view of the virus. The researchers used a mathematical model of how the virus spreads through host populations to determine whether viruses with latency periods could out-compete viruses without latency periods. They found that viruses with latency periods had an evolutionary advantage when the availability of hosts was unpredictable: generally the more unpredictable the environment the more important latency became.

Such dynamics are not limited to viruses: there are many situations, for example portfolio and fund management where a balance between action and patience has to be struck. The present piece of research suggests that successful strategies may often be embarassingly simple: be patient and save something to see you through leaner years.

Katie Price | alfa
Further information:
http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/abstract/232546899v1

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Millions through license revenues
27.04.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht New High-Performance Center Translational Medical Engineering
26.04.2017 | Fraunhofer ITEM

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Bare bones: Making bones transparent

27.04.2017 | Life Sciences

Study offers new theoretical approach to describing non-equilibrium phase transitions

27.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

From volcano's slope, NASA instrument looks sky high and to the future

27.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>