Why, so far, have epidemics always eventually petered out? Quasispecies theory suggests a (testable!) answer

Why, so far, have epidemics always eventually petered out? Quasispecies theory suggests a... In this paper, it is argued that the fact that, so far, even the worst and most far-reaching epidemics—from the Plague of Athens in 430 BC and the Plague of Justinian in 541/542 AD to the Hong Kong Flu from 1968/69—always finally petered out can be explained using Manfred Eigen’s quasispecies concept: Indeed, as the infectious agents, while duplicating themselves in the infected organisms, mutate all the time, these infected organisms carry along quite a multitude of mutational variants or—in Manfred Eigen’s terms—a whole quasispecies of infectious agents implying that, within that quasispecies, those variants that differ from the wild type may actually serve as some kind of vaccination program when infecting some previously uninfected persons. In this context, some data regarding various recent epidemics will also be illustrated, using Daniel Huson’s SplitsTree software tool. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png European Biophysics Journal Springer Journals

Why, so far, have epidemics always eventually petered out? Quasispecies theory suggests a (testable!) answer

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2018 by European Biophysical Societies' Association
Subject
Life Sciences; Biochemistry, general; Biological and Medical Physics, Biophysics; Cell Biology; Neurobiology; Membrane Biology; Nanotechnology
ISSN
0175-7571
eISSN
1432-1017
D.O.I.
10.1007/s00249-018-1306-2
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In this paper, it is argued that the fact that, so far, even the worst and most far-reaching epidemics—from the Plague of Athens in 430 BC and the Plague of Justinian in 541/542 AD to the Hong Kong Flu from 1968/69—always finally petered out can be explained using Manfred Eigen’s quasispecies concept: Indeed, as the infectious agents, while duplicating themselves in the infected organisms, mutate all the time, these infected organisms carry along quite a multitude of mutational variants or—in Manfred Eigen’s terms—a whole quasispecies of infectious agents implying that, within that quasispecies, those variants that differ from the wild type may actually serve as some kind of vaccination program when infecting some previously uninfected persons. In this context, some data regarding various recent epidemics will also be illustrated, using Daniel Huson’s SplitsTree software tool.

Journal

European Biophysics JournalSpringer Journals

Published: May 21, 2018

References

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