A virus-virus interaction is a measurable difference in the course of infection of one virus as a result of a concurrent or prior infection by a different species or strain of virus. Many such interactions have been discovered by chance, yet they have rarely been studied systematically. Increasing evidence suggests that virus-virus interactions are common and may be critical to understanding viral pathogenesis in natural hosts. In this review we propose a system for classifying virus-virus interactions by organizing them into three main categories: (1) direct interactions of viral genes or gene products, (2) indirect interactions that result from alterations in the host environment, and (3) immunological interactions. We have so far identified 15 subtypes of interaction and assigned each to one of these categories. It is anticipated that this framework will provide for a more systematic approach to investigating virus-virus interactions, both at the cellular and organismal levels.
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