POST Online Media Lite Edition



 

NEWLY REPORTED COVID-19 CASES IN LAST 24 HOURS (10.19.2021, 8:23pm CEST, WHO):   U.S. 16,894    India 13,058    Brazil 5,738    United Kingdom 48,703    Russia 34,740    Turkey 29,240    Iran 11,844    Colombia 1,299    Italy 1,594    Germany 6,771    Mexico 1,993    Poland 3,930    Philippines 6,943    Ukraine 15,579    Malaysia 5,434    Netherlands 3,389    Iraq 1,559    Thailand 9,122    Czechia 2,521    Chile 1,315    Romania 18,863    Israel 1,483    Serbia 6,461    Kazakhstan 1,396    Cuba 1,844    Vietnam 3,168    Jordan 1,715    Austria 1,797    Greece 3,147    Georgia 5,739    Guatemala 3,649    Belarus 1,956    Bulgaria 4,979    Azerbaijan 1,245    Myanmar 1,133    Slovakia 1,797    Croatia 1,741    Ireland 1,576    Venezuela 1,349    Lithuania 2,235    South Korea 1,073    Mongolia 1,303    Moldova 1,370    Armenia 1,054    Latvia 1,853    Botswana 2,195    Estonia 1,101    China 30    Singapore 2,553    New Zealand 99    Australia 2,186   

Ebola virus adapts itself to kill humans more effectively

Staff Writer |
Mutations in the Ebola virus boosted its ability to infect people during the 2013-2016 epidemic in West Africa, two independent teams of researchers say.

Article continues below






By the time the epidemic ended, more than 28,000 people had been infected and more than 11,000 had died.

The authors of the studies wanted to determine if there were any genetic changes in the Ebola virus in response to infection in such a large number of people.

"Ebola virus is thought to circulate in an unknown animal reservoir and to only rarely cross over into people. When the virus does cross over, the effect has been devastating to those people who are infected.

"Until recently, the human disease outbreaks have been short lived, and the virus has had little opportunity to adapt genetically to the human host," said Dr. Jeremy Luban. He is co-author of one of the studies and a professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

The research teams said they found mutations that increase Ebola's ability to infect humans and other primates. It's possible these mutations increased the spread of the virus during the epidemic.

"If you introduce a virus into a new host, like humans, it may need to adapt to better infect and spread in that host," said Jonathan Ball, co-author of the other study and a virologist at the University of Nottingham in England.

One particular mutation emerged early in the epidemic just as there was a large spike in the number of cases, and it soon became the dominant virus type circulating in the outbreak, the scientists said.

The two research teams are now trying to learn more about how these new mutations make the Ebola virus more infectious in people.


What to read next

Ebola blood test may help predict survival chances
Ebola, very infectious but not very contagious disease
Flu virus hijacking tactics revealed, paving way for new treatments