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Next-Generation Sequencing Aids Researchers in the Fight Against the Ebola Virus
News > Update      |      Posted: June 24, 2015 13:26:38pm GMT
Researchers Christian Happi, PhD and PardisSabeti, PhD

Genomic studies with the HiSeq and MiSeq Systems are enabling researchers to track Ebola outbreaks and understand the impact of the virus’s rapid mutation rate.


The 2014 Ebola outbreak sickened and killed thousands of people in West Africa, struck major urban centers and sent countries into chaos, and caused an international and humanitarian crisis. But first, the virus infected a child. Through careful history taking, researchers identified a two-year old boy as the first case in what would become the largest Ebola outbreak to date. He lived in a small village in Guinea, not far from the border of Sierra Leone and Liberia. In late December 2013, he became sick with fever, vomiting, and signs of hemorrhage. 

The boy died after several days, followed closely by several other family members. This strain of the virus is believed to have jumped to humans from an infected fruit bat, its natural wildlife reservoir.

Since the outbreak began nearly 18 months ago, the World Health Organization has documented 26,312 Ebola cases with 10,899 


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