Emergence of synergistic and competitive pathogens in a coevolutionary spreading model

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review


  • Fakhteh Ghanbarnejad - , Chair of Network Dynamics (cfaed), Sharif University of Technology, Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (Author)
  • Kai Seegers - , Technical University of Berlin (Author)
  • Alessio Cardillo - , Universidad Rovira i Virgili, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne, University of Zaragoza (Author)
  • Philipp Hövel - , University College Cork (Author)


Cooperation and competition between pathogens can alter the amount of individuals affected by a coinfection. Nonetheless, the evolution of the pathogens' behavior has been overlooked. Here, we consider a coevolutionary model where the simultaneous spreading is described by a two-pathogen susceptible-infected-recovered model in an either synergistic or competitive manner. At the end of each epidemic season, the pathogens species reproduce according to their fitness that, in turn, depends on the payoff accumulated during the spreading season in a hawk-and-dove game. This coevolutionary model displays a rich set of features. Specifically, the evolution of the pathogens' strategy induces abrupt transitions in the epidemic prevalence. Furthermore, we observe that the long-term dynamics results in a single, surviving pathogen species, and that the cooperative behavior of pathogens can emerge even under unfavorable conditions.


Original languageEnglish
Article number034308
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022

External IDs

PubMed 35428157