Corresponding Author

Muayad A.Mahmud

Authors ORCID


Document Type

Research Article


Evolutionary theories predict that virulence (host death due to a pathogen) positively associates with the pathogen transmission rates to new susceptible hosts. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS- CoV-2), the causative agent of coronavirus disease 2019 (covid-19) pandemic, like other RNA viruses, has quite variable genetic content due to its unique nucleus enzymes thus mutations can continuously occur during viral replications. Phenotype variations among new viral progeny can include individuals with different replication rates, infectivity, stability in the abiotic environment, and transmission rate. Here, the rate of transmission to new susceptible hosts may be affected by the pathogen’s vitality in the physical environments, and host-related factors such as control measures and vaccination. In this study, we analyzed the mortality rates of covid-19 positive patients among various parts of the world and explain the role of several factors in determining SARS-CoV-2 virulence. We found a weak negative correlation (R2 = 0.3) between the mortality rate of covid-19 patients and each of death rates due to cancer diseases (F = 9.135, P = 0.006) and the number of medical doctors per 10,000 populations (F = 8.104, P = 0.009). Other factors such as the prevalence of current daily tobacco smoking in males/females, life expectancy in males/females, general death rates, cardiovascular diseases, prevalence of COPD, prevalence of asthma and average yearly temperature did not associate with death rates among covid-19 patients. Inclusion, adequacy of healthcare services and proper infection prevention measures are the key factors to reduce the covid-19 mortality rate. More studies are required to better understand the management of SARS-CoV-2 virulence management.


covid-19, SARS-CoV-2, virulence, ecology, mortality

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