Severe hindrance of viral infection propagation in spatially extended hosts Articles uri icon

publication date

  • August 2011

start page

  • 1

end page

  • 13


  • 8 (e23358)


  • 6

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1932-6203


  • The production of large progeny numbers affected by high mutation rates is a ubiquitous strategy of viruses, as it promotes quick adaptation and survival to changing environments. However, this situation often ushers in an arms race between the virus and the host cells. In this paper we investigate in depth a model for the dynamics of a phenotypically heterogeneous population of viruses whose propagation is limited to two-dimensional geometries, and where host cells are able to develop defenses against infection. Our analytical and numerical analyses are developed in close connection to directed percolation models. In fact, we show that making the space explicit in the model, which in turn amounts to reducing viral mobility and hindering the infective ability of the virus, connects our work with similar dynamical models that lie in the universality class of directed percolation. In addition, we use the fact that our model is a multicomponent generalization of the Domany-Kinzel probabilistic cellular automaton to employ several techniques developed in the past in that context, such as the two-site approximation to the extinction transition line. Our aim is to better understand propagation of viral infections with mobility restrictions, e.g., in crops or in plant leaves, in order to inspire new strategies for effective viral control.


  • Mathematics


  • error-threshold; phase-transitions; virus populations; mutation-rates; rna viruses; evolution; extinction; sustitutions; bottlenecks; suppression