Viruses have attracted the interest of researchers from multiple disciplines and have nucleated many productive and innovative collaborations. In part, this is because viruses so intimately associate with their hosts that decoupling host and virus biology is difficult, and virus-host interactions occur
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Viruses have attracted the interest of researchers from multiple disciplines and have nucleated many productive and innovative collaborations. In part, this is because viruses so intimately associate with their hosts that decoupling host and virus biology is difficult, and virus-host interactions occur at multiple scales, from within cells to populations, each of which is intrinsically complex. As a consequence, ecologists, population biologists, evolutionary biologists, and researchers from quantitative fields, including mathematics, statistics, physics and computer science, make significant contributions to the field of virology. Our understanding of virus dynamics and evolution has substantially benefited from these multidisciplinary efforts. It is now common to see advanced phylogenetic reconstruction methods used to determine the origins of emergent viruses, to estimate the effect of natural selection on virus populations, and to assess virus population dynamics. Mathematical and statistical models that elucidate complex virus and host interactions in time and space at the molecular and population level are appearing more regularly in virology and biomedical journals. Massive quantities of data now available due to technological innovation in imaging, increased disease surveillance efforts, and novel approaches to determine social contact structure are changing approaches to study the dynamics and evolution of viral infections in heterogeneous environments. The next decade presents exciting new opportunities and challenges for the expanding field of researchers investigating dynamics of viral infections that will lead to innovation and new insight on virus interactions in both individual hosts and in populations. The compilation of articles in this Special Issue
on “Virus Dynamics and Evolution” is comprised of reviews and primary research, summarized below, that provide new perspectives on virus interactions with host organisms through the integration of empirical and computational analyses of virus at molecular, cellular, and population levels. [...]