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purpose(?) of viruses

saboteur at BORCIM.WUSTL.EDU saboteur at BORCIM.WUSTL.EDU
Mon Jan 30 11:26:56 EST 1995

rob j wrote:
>True, probably the most successful virus would be one that could replicate
>without causing any pathogenesis. Who knows perhaps we are infected with
>many more viruses than we know.

This reminds me of some current dogma (forgot whose idea) that viruses are
usually very virulent when they enter a new host population/species, and in
general become less so with time, so as to preserve their susceptible host 
population for future generations of viruses. However, I would just like to
point out that variola major was with us for millenia, with no known outside
reservoir, and yet was particularly virulent. Successful, too, until we put
our minds to problem. So, at least in this case, the dogma doesn't hold up.
Any thoughts?

Brett Lindenbach
Lucille P. Markey Student in Human Pathobiology
Program in Immunology
Washington University - St Louis
brett at borcim.wustl.edu

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