Derivation and Application of a Dimensionless Quantity for Understanding Viral Evolution
The McDonnell Foundation funds high risk projects in the area of complex systems. We are currently in our final year of funding on this project. We have derived a dimensionless number, similar in spirit to the Reynolds number in fluid dynamics, to be used in predicting whether a virus circulating in a given host population will be antigenically limited or whether its antigenic diversity will grow over time. We are currently testing this number on empirical RNA viral sequence data.