NIH study finds Ebola mutations not an issue in West Africa

Courtesy of niaid.nih.gov
Researchers with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently confirmed that there is no evidence of significant Ebola mutations in West Africa, and the few mutations the virus has undergone have not made it any more contagious or severe.

Even though there has been extensive transmissions of Ebola from person to person as part of the current outbreak, the virus has not mutated any more than what experts originally estimated.

The researchers used samples from a variety of Ebola patients in different locations at different times, including Mali in November 2014, Guinea in March 2014 and Sierra Leone in June 2014. It was a notable challenge for the researchers to find virus samples during the outbreak.

The researchers also noted that the data shows evidence that it is not likely that the virus’ genetic changes would inhibit the medical community’s diagnostic measures, or influence current trials developing vaccines or treatments for Ebola.

“The Ebola virus in the ongoing West African outbreak appears to be stable—that is, it does not appear to be mutating more rapidly than viruses in previous Ebola outbreaks, and that is reassuring,” Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said. “We look forward to additional information to validate this finding, because understanding and tracking Ebola virus evolution are critical to ensuring that our scientific and public health response keeps pace.”

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National Institutes of Health

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