Friday 22 August 2014

Ebola Outbreak Underestimated

here is a on-going debate about how fast the Ebola viruses are mutating. A new study suggests that the virus may not be evolving as quickly as a previous research group has estimated.

The Ebola virus causing havoc in West Africa may not be mutating at the fast rate previously thought by some medics. As detailed in new research, Ebola is evolving much slower in people than a 2014 study estimated. With the previous study, Harvard University medics genetically investigated Ebola samples blood samples from infected people in Sierra Leone. 
The inference was that the virus was quickly mutating. This research outcome led to the fear that the virus could become even more dealy. The research was published in the journal Science (in a paper called "Genomic surveillance elucidates Ebola virus origin and transmission during the 2014 outbreak.") However, with the new 2015 study, a different research group looking at Ebola cases in Mali, have found that the virus is not mutating fast. 
The lead author of the new research, David Safronetz, of the Laboratory of Virology at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), has said in an interview with The New York Times Ebola "hasn’t become increasingly lethal or increasingly virulent...he virus—it’s doing what it’s always done." Reviewing the findings, Anthony Fauci (NIAID Director) told the science blogGoats and Soda blog: "This is some good news for the development of interventions. The data also indicate it’s quite unlikely the virus will mutate and change its way of transmission." 
 The new findings have been also been published in the journal Science. The research is called "Mutation rate and genotype variation of Ebola virus from Mali case sequences."

Posted by Tim Sandle

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