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Are HPV vaccines ‘evolution-proof’? Multilevel evolutionary ecology of human oncoviruses

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






Project "EVOLPROOF" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
address: RUE MICHEL ANGE 3
city: PARIS
postcode: 75794

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country France [FR]
 Project website
 Total cost 1˙987˙492 €
 EC max contribution 1˙987˙492 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2014-CoG
 Funding Scheme ERC-COG
 Starting year 2015
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2015-09-01   to  2021-08-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 


 Project objective

There is a threat that evolutionary responses can render vaccines ineffective, as illustrated by the emergence of the increasingly virulent Marek Disease Virus strains in poultry following vaccination campaigns. Assessing the ‘evolution-proof’ nature of vaccines targeting human viruses is challenging because it requires an understanding of the epidemiology, the within-host ecology and the evolutionary potential of the virus. To date, most investigations into the spread of vaccine-resistant strains are theoretical and are rarely constrained by data.

We propose a novel alliance between evolutionary ecology and clinical research to assess the risk of vaccines selecting for resistant or virulent strains. Human papillomaviruses (HPV) and their vaccines provide an ideal study system. However, the scope of the project is wider and encompasses other DNA viruses.

The project is divided into three parts. In Part A, we will decipher HPV within-host dynamics in genital infections. By combining mathematical modelling and longitudinal patient data, we will be able to parameterise within-host models and compare them. In Part B, we will jointly analyse host, virus and genital microbiota diversity using a community ecology approach to understand the infectious process. These results will be integrated into evolutionary epidemiology models allowing for diverse infections. In Part C, we will estimate virus substitution rates and use the results from Parts 1 and 2 to develop a multilevel analysis of HPV evolution in response to vaccination. We will also tackle more general questions related to the evolution of the virulence of human oncoviruses.

A major asset of the project is the collection of clinical data in order to address a major public health issue using ideas and methods from evolutionary ecology. This will set a new agenda for the study of human viral infections and establish a perennial leading research group in Europe.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2019 Carmen Lía Murall, Massilva Rahmoun, Christian Selinger, Monique Baldellou, Claire Bernat, Marine Bonneau, Vanina Boué, Mathilde Buisson, Guillaume Christophe, Giuseppe D’Auria, Florence De Taroni, Vincent Foulongne, Rémy Froissart, Christelle Graf, Sophie Grasset, Soraya Groc, Christophe Hirtz, Audrey Jaussent, Julie Lajoie, Frédérique Lorcy, Eric Picot, Marie-Christine Picot, Jacques Rave
Natural history, dynamics, and ecology of human papillomaviruses in genital infections of young women: protocol of the PAPCLEAR cohort study
published pages: e025129, ISSN: 2044-6055, DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-025129
BMJ Open 9/6 2019-09-02
2018 Samuel Alizon, Pierre-Olivier Méthot
Reconciling Pasteur and Darwin to control infectious diseases
published pages: e2003815, ISSN: 1545-7885, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.2003815
PLOS Biology 16/1 2019-08-06
2017 C.L. Murall, J.L. Abbate, M. Puelma Touzel, E. Allen-Vercoe, S. Alizon, R. Froissart, K. McCann
Invasions of Host-Associated Microbiome Networks
published pages: 201-281, ISSN: , DOI: 10.1016/bs.aecr.2016.11.002
Advances in Ecological Modeling 57 2019-08-06
2017 Samuel Alizon, Carmen Murall, Ignacio Bravo
Why Human Papillomavirus Acute Infections Matter
published pages: 293, ISSN: 1999-4915, DOI: 10.3390/v9100293
Viruses 9/12 2019-08-06
2019 Carmen Lía Murall, Samuel Alizon
Modelling the evolution of viral oncogenesis
published pages: 20180302, ISSN: 0962-8436, DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2018.0302
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 374/1773 2019-08-06
2019 Carmen Lía Murall, Robert Jackson, Ingeborg Zehbe, Nathalie Boulle, Michel Segondy, Samuel Alizon
Epithelial stratification shapes infection dynamics
published pages: e1006646, ISSN: 1553-7358, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1006646
PLOS Computational Biology 15/1 2019-08-06
2018 Tsukushi Kamiya, Nicole Mideo, Samuel Alizon
Coevolution of virulence and immunosuppression in multiple infections
published pages: 995-1005, ISSN: 1010-061X, DOI: 10.1111/jeb.13280
Journal of Evolutionary Biology 31/7 2019-08-06

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