Whenever the swine flu (the pork industry would prefer if you refer to it as H1N1) or some other epidemic is spreading across the countryworld, it is a good opportunity to remark on a few strategies(*) the virus may take to survive.

(*) If you think of humanity as a virus, it is also a good opportunity to learn some strategies for our survival.

If humans use increasing sanitation, the virus could either respond by becoming more resistant to sanitizing procedures through evolutionary means. Another response would be ease of transmission through other vectors. If transmission becomes more aggressive, the virus has no interest in keeping the host comfortable enough to walk around and spread the virus further. It may just turn more deadly.

From a human perspective, it would be in the best interest to support the weaker and more benign virus strains so that they may compete with the strong and be competitive due to sheer numbers. If the weak are wiped out or if it made less feasible for them to dominate, the strong will overwhelm the system of vira and humans and completely change it. See this link for a fun example of one of the side effects of frivolous antibiotics usage.

Lessons learned? For each attack, there is (and will be) an appropriate counter-attack. If you cannot win, don’t fight. Also, systemic change is highly unpredictable.

Originally posted 2009-10-03 23:19:06.