Do viruses compete with each other?

Answered Jul 27, 2019

Yes.

They can even compete with members of their same species.

Some bacteriophages (viruses which infect bacteria) will do this. The first copy to successfully infect an individual host may have a mechanism that prevents any further copies of that same phage species from being able to infect the same cell.

It should be noted that, different copies of the same virus species may have genetic mutations which make them different to each other. When they infect the host, the basic drive is to create and disseminate copies of their specific genome. This means that, preventing super-infection by competing strains allows the first strain to use all of the host resources for itself, thereby giving a competitive advantage.

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