Apr 29, 2020

Asynchrony between virus diversity and antibody selection limits influenza virus evolution

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
D. H. MorrisColin A. Russell


Seasonal influenza viruses create a persistent global disease burden by evolving to escape immunity induced by prior infections and vaccinations. New antigenic variants have a substantial selective advantage at the population level, but these variants are rarely selected within-host, even in previously immune individuals. We find that the temporal asynchrony between within-host virus exponential growth and antibody-mediated selection make within-host antigenic adaptation rare. Instead, selection for new antigenic variants acts principally at the point of initial virus inoculation, where small virus populations encounter well-matched mucosal antibodies in previously infected individuals. Selection later in infection is rare. Our results explain how virus antigenic evolution can be highly selective at the global level but nearly neutral within hosts. They also suggest new avenues for improving influenza control.

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Mentioned in this Paper

RNA, Untranslated
Nucleic Acid Sequencing
Protein Biosynthesis
Codon Genus
Codon (Nucleotide Sequence)

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