Omicron Hypovirulence?

Published at 14:43 on 4 December 2021

It is starting to look as if, contrary to initial expectations, it might actually be a thing. If so, coupled with its hyper-contagiousness, this is only to be expected from an evolutionary standpoint.

If you are a virus, killing your hosts is a bad strategy. You need your hosts in order to reproduce. And if you are a fragile virus with a limited viability (like the COVID-19 virus), you are under the imperative to reproduce or go extinct.

The most successful viruses are the ones that:

  • Do not cause severe illness,
  • Spread easily,
  • Mutate rapidly.

This keeps the virus spreading and freely replicating amongst a large host population. So it would be no surprise if COVID-19 evolved along these lines.

If so, expect it to become much like your typical common cold virus in terms of concern. In fact, it might simply become yet another common cold virus; many colds are caused by coronavirus strains already.

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