Research shows potential for emergence of new Ebola virus that causes disease in humans

March 24, 2016
The Ebola virus, isolated in November 2014 from patient blood samples obtained in Mali. The virus was isolated on Vero cells in a BSL-4 suite at Rocky Mountain Laboratories. Credit: NIAID

New research at the University of Kent has highlighted the potential for the emergence of a new form of Ebolavirus.

A team from the University's School of Biosciences examined the differences between Ebolaviruses that cause severe in humans and the Reston that does not.

The Reston virus, which is known to circulate in domestic pigs in Asia and occasionally infect humans, is currently the only member of the Ebolavirus family not to have been reported as causing life-threatening disease in humans.

Using computational analysis of the sequences of the genomes of Ebolaviruses and a computational prediction of the effects of sequence variations on virus function, the researchers, Dr Mark Wass, Senior Lecturer in Computational Biology, Professor Martin Michaelis, Professor of Molecular Medicine, and Dr Jeremy Rossman, Lecturer in Virology, and their teams, identified characteristic differences in a number of virus proteins.

The results suggested that only a few changes in one Ebolavirus protein, VP24, may be necessary to render the Reston virus into a virus that can cause human disease. There may be a risk therefore that Reston viruses acquire the few mutations necessary to cause disease in humans and to develop into a novel health threat.

The research, entitled Conserved differences in protein sequence determine the human pathogenicity of Ebolaviruses, is published in Scientific Reports.

Explore further: Study finds pigs susceptible to virulent ebolavirus can transmit the virus to other animals

More information: Morena Pappalardo et al. Conserved differences in protein sequence determine the human pathogenicity of Ebolaviruses, Scientific Reports (2016). DOI: 10.1038/srep23743

Related Stories

Study finds pigs susceptible to virulent ebolavirus can transmit the virus to other animals

May 13, 2011
Canadian investigators have shown that a species of ebolavirus from Zaire that is highly virulent in humans can replicate in pigs, cause disease, and be transmitted to animals previously unexposed to the virus. The findings ...

Philippine monkeys infected with Ebola not lethal to humans

September 5, 2015
Several monkeys at a research and breeding facility in the Philippines have been infected with an Ebola virus strain that is non-lethal to humans, health officials said Saturday.

Study finds a weak spot on deadly ebolavirus

November 21, 2011
Scientists from The Scripps Research Institute and the US Army's Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases have isolated and analyzed an antibody that neutralizes Sudan virus, a major species of ebolavirus and one ...

Philippines suspends monkey exports after Ebola deaths

September 10, 2015
The Philippines has suspended macaque exports after an Ebola virus strain that is non-fatal to humans struck 20 monkeys, killing 11, officials said Thursday.

Antibodies may provide 'silver bullet' for Ebola viruses

January 21, 2016
There may be a "silver bullet" for Ebola, a family of hemorrhagic viruses, one of which has killed more than 11,000 people in West Africa in the past two years.

New cancer treatment hope for children

December 7, 2015
Children suffering from a cancer of the nervous system could benefit from a potential new treatment, thanks to an international team led by researchers at the University of Kent and at the Institute of Medical Virology at ...

Recommended for you

Co-infection with two common gut pathogens worsens malnutrition in mice

July 27, 2017
Two gut pathogens commonly found in malnourished children combine to worsen malnutrition and impair growth in laboratory mice, according to new research published in PLOS Pathogens.

Finish your antibiotics course? Maybe not, experts say

July 27, 2017
British disease experts on Thursday suggested doing away with the "incorrect" advice to always finish a course of antibiotics, saying the approach was fuelling the spread of drug resistance.

Phase 3 trial confirms superiority of tocilizumab to steroids for giant cell arteritis

July 26, 2017
A phase 3 clinical trial has confirmed that regular treatment with tocilizumab, an inhibitor of interleukin-6, successfully reduced both symptoms of and the need for high-dose steroid treatment for giant cell arteritis, the ...

A large-scale 'germ trap' solution for hospitals

July 26, 2017
When an infectious airborne illness strikes, some hospitals use negative pressure rooms to isolate and treat patients. These rooms use ventilation controls to keep germ-filled air contained rather than letting it circulate ...

Researchers report new system to study chronic hepatitis B

July 25, 2017
Scientists from Princeton University's Department of Molecular Biology have successfully tested a cell-culture system that will allow researchers to perform laboratory-based studies of long-term hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections. ...

Male hepatitis B patients suffer worse liver ailments, regardless of lifestyle

July 25, 2017
Why men with hepatitis B remain more than twice as likely to develop severe liver disease than women remains a mystery, even after a study led by a recent Drexel University graduate took lifestyle choices and environments ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.