Study: Ebola Virus Didn’t Mutate Into More Dangerous Strain

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Ebola virus in West Africa that has killed 11,000 is not more virulent than prior strains as had been feared, according to a study published Tuesday.

Researchers with the National Institutes of Healthfound the pathogen — still on the loose in Sierra Leone and Guinea — is no more deadly, and might even be weaker, than the original virus that first emerged in Africa in 1976.

“The main message is … it’s certainly not worse and it may be less virulent,” said Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy Infectious Diseases. “It’s good news.”

Three monkeys infected with the 1976 virus developed symptoms roughly two days earlier than three monkeys infected with the current pathogen. “The most notable difference was progression,” the study said. “It seems fair to conclude that the virulence … is not increased compared with other (Ebola) strains.”

Fauci said the findings lend credence to theories that the virus spun out of control inLiberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea because of a “perfect storm” of factors where it took root in densely populated cities and victimized poverty-stricken nations with poor health care and porous borders.

Source: USA Today (link opens in a new window)

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infectious diseases