Scientists report the discovery of a new species of Ebola virus, provisionally named Bundibugyo ebolavirus, November 21 in the open-access journal PLoS Pathogens. The virus, which was responsible for a hemorrhagic fever outbreak in western Uganda in 2007, has been characterized by a team of researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia the Uganda Virus Research Institute; the Uganda Ministry of Health; and Columbia University.
Ebola virus infection in humans causes severe disease for which there is presently no vaccine or other treatment. Case fatalities range historically between 53 and 90%. Therefore, research efforts into the Ebola virus genus and potential diagnostics are ongoing, with the discovery of Bundibugyo ebolavirus representing one of the latest pieces added to this puzzle.
The new virus is genetically distinct from all other known Ebola virus species, differing by more than 30% at the genetic level. More traditional ELISA-based assays detected the new virus; however, the unique nature of this virus created initial challenges for traditional Ebola virus molecular diagnostic assays and genome sequencing approaches. To determine the genetic signature of this new Ebola virus species, scientists used a recently developed random-primed pyro-sequencing approach, quickly determining the genetic sequence of over 70% of the virus genome.
Knowledge of this sequence then allowed for the rapid development of a sensitive molecular detection assay which was deployed to the field as part of the outbreak response. This draft sequence also allowed for easy completion of the whole genome sequence using a traditional primer walking approach and prompt confirmation that this virus represented a new Ebola virus species. Current worldwide efforts to design effective diagnostics, antivirals and vaccines will need to take into account the distinct nature of this new member of the Ebola virus genus.
PLEASE ADD THIS LINK TO THE PUBLISHED ARTICLE IN ONLINE VERSIONS OF YOUR REPORT: http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1000212 (link will go live on Friday, November 21)
CITATION: Towner JS, Sealy TK, Khristova ML, Albarin˜o CG, Conlan S, et al. (2008) Newly Discovered Ebola Virus Associated with Hemorrhagic Fever Outbreak in Uganda. PLoS Pathog 4(11): e1000212. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1000212
CONTACT: CDC Media Relations: 404-639-3286
This press release refers to an upcoming article in PLoS Pathogens. The release is provided by the article authors and/or their institutions. Any opinions expressed in these releases or articles are the personal views of the journal staff and/or article contributors, and do not necessarily represent the views or policies of PLoS. PLoS expressly disclaims any and all warranties and liability in connection with the information found in the releases and articles and your use of such information.
About PLoS Pathogens
PLoS Pathogens (www.plospathogens.org) publishes outstanding original articles that significantly advance the understanding of pathogens and how they interact with their host organisms. All works published in PLoS Pathogens are open access. Everything is immediately available subject only to the condition that the original authorship and source are properly attributed. Copyright is retained by the authors. The Public Library of Science uses the Creative Commons Attribution License.
About the Public Library of Science
The Public Library of Science (PLoS) is a non-profit organization of scientists and physicians committed to making the world's scientific and medical literature a freely available public resource. For more information, visit http://www.plos.org.
PLEASE MENTION THE OPEN-ACCESS JOURNAL PLoS PATHOGENS (www.plospathogens.org) AS THE SOURCE FOR THIS ARTICLE AND PROVIDE A LINK TO THE FREELY AVAILABLE TEXT. THANK YOU.
PLoS Pathogens is an open-access, peer-reviewed journal published weekly by the Public Library of Science (PLoS).
AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert! system.