For those who read my post about quorum sensing and quorum phenotypes in bacteria, now consider this marvelous idea (I write this while my partner, who sits next to me on the couch, is playing one of those epidemic games on his cell phone, where you are a pathogen and the goal is to infect the world):
What if a pathogen had a mechanism for sensing the quorum of having infected a certain threshold number of people, after which point a new phenotype would trigger in, such as increased virulence, for example?
Just think about it.
But seriously. As the game of Epidemic progresses next to me on the couch, and the game responds with messages like "American scientists are 25% done on the cure," I ask my partner, "Is there a 'defund the National Institutes of Health' button in the game, that you, as a pathogen, can press to slow the progress of scientists with regard to finding the cure?"
No, there isn't, he says.
Not in the game, that is. But in our reality, there is such a button, sadly. And it is being pressed.