Viruses Evolve to Become Less Virulent Over Time: the law of Declining Virulence

by Mike Mutzel





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About this Podcast:

Let’s review the long-known law of declining virulence which describes how viruses and parasites evolve to become less virulent over time as they infect more hosts.


Studies Discussed:

Lavine, J. S., Bjornstad, O. N., & Antia, R. (2021). Immunological characteristics govern the transition of COVID-19 to endemicity. Science, 371(6530), 741–745.
**Excellent read**

Oxford, J. S., Lambkin, R., Sefton, A., Daniels, R., Vaccine, A. E.,. 2005. A hypothesis: the conjunction of soldiers, gas, pigs, ducks, geese and horses in Northern France during the Great War provided the conditions for the emergence of …. Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases.

Lipsitch, M., Herre, E. A., & Nowak, M. A. (1995). HOST POPULATION STRUCTURE AND THE EVOLUTION OF VIRULENCE: A “LAW OF DIMINISHING RETURNS.” Evolution, 49(4), 743–748.

Sciences, P. M. H. A. P. O. T. L., 2012. Why do Parasites Harm Their Host? On the Origin and Legacy of Theobald Smith's‘ Law of Declining Virulence’—1900-1980. Jstor

Alizon, S., & Sofonea, M. T. (n.d.). SARS-CoV-2 virulence evolution: Avirulence theory, immunity and trade-offs. Journal of Evolutionary Biology.

  1. Hi Mike,
    Great work, thank you! Keep it up!
    Btw YouTube says the video is “not available”

  2. One more thing: you would have been exposed to, and importantly, susceptible to, was the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The symptoms, indicating disease, is COVID (coronavirus disease 2019). This distinction has been deliberately obfuscated and the two terms used interchangeably to misrepresent the facts and figures around infection and disease in the UK.

    The information you’re talking about and querying why it is not being talked about? – censorship. 😉

  3. Hello, Mike.

    Thank you for all of the work that you do. Since this began, I have been doing a great deal of my own research and find your additions to be wonderful.

    Regarding this video, I read Lavine’s report and found something that made me feel that she did not do her homework, at least in her study description.

    In her report, Jennie Lavine states:
    “The virus has a high basic reproductive number (R0) and is transmissible during the asymptomatic phase of infection, both of which make it hard to control (3).”

    However, in April 2021, the CDC states:
    “The fact that we did not detect any laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 transmission from asymptomatic case-patients is in line with multiple studies (9–11).”

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