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Ebola virus genome sequencing data published
News > Update      |      Posted: September 24, 2014 02:55:32am GMT

An international team of researchers have published genome sequencing data to help the international efforts now underway to control the Ebola outbreak. They have noted rapid mutations that could affect current diagnostics, vaccines and therapies, and say it is imperative to monitor the viral changes and adaption.

The work published in Science was conducted by researchers in Nigeria, Scotland, Sierra Leone and the United States. The team sequenced 99 Ebola virus genomes from 78 patients in Sierra Leone and observed a rapid increase in genetic variation. They believe the West African variant likely diverged from central African lineages around 2004 and crossed from Guinea to Sierra Leone in May 2014.

One of the authors is TDR alumni Christian Happi, a Cameroonian scientist profiled this month for his work on malaria and Lassa fever. It was in Happi’s laboratory at Redeemer’s University in Ogun State, Nigeria, where the first case of Ebola from Nigeria was diagnosed. Since then, they have been busy testing up to 20 samples a day that come in from all around Nigeria.

“Because we have sophisticated genomics research laboratories at the African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID), in Redeemer’s University, we were able to quickly diagnose the virus within hours of receiving the sample of the first Ebola index case in Nigeria,” he explains. “Together with the outreach and contract tracing teams, Nigeria has been able to control the spread of this deadly virus.” He points out that of the 19 cases reported in that country, only 7 have resulted in death.

Tragically, five co-authors in Sierra Leone contracted Ebola and lost their battle with the disease before the manuscript was published:

Mohamed Fullah
Mbalu Fonnie
Alex Moigboi
Alice Kovoma
S. Humarr Khan

For more information, please contact

Jamie Guth
TDR Communications Manager
Telephone: 41 79 441 2289

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