Cross-immunity between strains explains the dynamical pattern of paramyxoviruses

Samit Bhattacharyya, Per H. Gesteland, Kent Korgenski, Ottar N. Bjørnstad, Frederick R. Adler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Viral respiratory tract diseases pose serious public health problems. Our ability to predict and thus, be able to prepare for outbreaks is strained by the complex factors driving the prevalence and severity of these diseases. The abundance of diseases and transmission dynamics of strains are not only affected by external factors, such as weather, but also driven by interactions among viruses mediated by human behavior and immunity. To untangle the complex out-ofphase annual and biennial pattern of three common paramyxoviruses, Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), Human Parainfluenza Virus (HPIV), and Human Metapneumovirus (hMPV), we adopt a theoretical approach that integrates ecological and immunological mechanisms of disease interactions. By estimating parameters from multiyear time series of laboratory-confirmed cases from the intermountain west region of the United States and using statistical inference, we show that models of immune-mediated interactions better explain the data than those based on ecological competition by convalescence. The strength of cross-protective immunity among viruses is correlated with their genetic distance in the phylogenetic tree of the paramyxovirus family.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13396-13400
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number43
StatePublished - Oct 27 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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