Optimal Viral Production

Daniel Coombs, Michael A. Gilchrist, Jerome Percus, Alan S. Perelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Viruses reproduce by multiplying within host cells. The reproductive fitness of a virus is proportional to the number of offspring it can produce during the lifetime of the cell it infects. If viral production rates are independent of cell death rate, then one expects natural selection will favor viruses that maximize their production rates. However, if increases in the viral production rate lead to an increase in the cell death rate, then the viral production rate that maximizes fitness may be less than the maximum. Here we pose the question of how fast should a virus replicate in order to maximize the number of progeny virions that it produces. We present a general mathematical framework for studying problems of this type, which may be adapted to many host-parasite systems, and use it to examine the optimal virus production scheduling problem from the perspective of the virus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1003-1023
Number of pages21
JournalBulletin of Mathematical Biology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Immunology
  • General Mathematics
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Environmental Science
  • Pharmacology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


Dive into the research topics of 'Optimal Viral Production'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this