Omicron and The Virulence Transmission Trade Off

by Mike Mutzel


Lets discuss Omicron and the virulence transmission trade off.


Sponsored Message:

Support your Vitamin D levels this winter with unique Vitamin D Blends by MYOXCIENCE Nutrition
Save using code podcast at checkout


Sponsored Message:

Alizon, S. & Sofonea, M. T. SARS‐CoV‐2 virulence evolution: Avirulence theory, immunity and trade‐offs. J. Evol. Biol. 34, 1867–1877 (2021).

Alexander, M. Why Microbial Predators and Parasites do not Eliminate their Prey and Hosts. Annu. Rev. Microbiol. 35, 113–133 (1981).


00:00 Viruses and parasites evolve to become less virulent as they infect more hosts, according to the decades old Law of Declining Virulence.

01:20 Omicron: Physicians in South Africa reported only 4 or 5 cases with mild course of illness, with symptoms that are similar to allergies or hay fever.

03:14 In order for viruses to evolve, they need to have random mutations. If the mutations increase virulence, these variants become deselected.

03:40 A virus is an obligate intracellular parasite. It requires your metabolic resources: macromolecules, cells, glucose, lipids, amino acids and more.  It needs to reproduce and spread. Dead people do not spread a virus.

05:20 The infectious fatality rate for the Delta strain was .2% vs 1.1% the original version. It is becoming increasingly less virulent.

07:11 RNA viruses have a high error rate in mutations. SARS COV-2 tends to have the highest of the highest mutation rates.

07:55 More than 50 million infections of the current virus provide ample opportunity for rapid evolution and mutation.

11:50 Any viral variant showing a higher transmissibility will generally replace its less infectious forerunners. This continues until the virus is extinct.

12:40 Just because it is easy to catch does not mean that it is more damaging. Pathogenicity is not necessarily selected for, but transmissibility is. High virulence is a mal adaptation of viruses when they cross into a host into which they are not adapted.

13:20 The most successful viruses do not cause significant symptoms. A lightly effected person maintains active social contact and is a better spreader. An example is the low spread of the Ebola virus.

14:05 A successful virus exploits its host without putting itself in danger.

15:30 It is theorized that SARS SARS COV-2 could become a seasonal virus with little mortality. As more children become infected, they build their immune response.


Leave a Reply