Monday, November 7, 2016

Mutated Strain of Ebola is More Deadly

Ebola outbreaks happened throughout multiple areas, but the most deadly one was the outbreak within West Africa in 2014.  There were 11,310 victims.  Researchers now believe that they have identified the reason for this flare-up of victims.  Two different groups of researchers studied this problem and reached the same conclusion.  The original Ebola strain mutated and caused the virus to be able to enter human cells more easily than before.  The exact mechanisms of the mutated virus are unknown and new research needs to be conducted on that, but the same conclusion can still be reached; people with the mutated virus have a higher risk of death.
Viruses are known to mutate at a high rate, and Ebola is no different.  But this specific mutation, the GPA82V mutation, caused a lot more harm than most.  This mutation had not died out in areas where the original strain had.  GPA82V mutation is believed to change the gene that codes for Ebola's glycoproteins.  This causes the entrance into human cells to be much easier.  
When the mutated strain was injected into primates and bats, there was an increase in the amount of cells infected.  The mutated strain killed four times as many.  On the contrary, when the more harmful strain was injected into both cats and dogs, no effect was seen.  Scientists believe that the mutated strain originated in bats and that it only effects certain species.  Since primates are very closely related to humans, it is concluded that the mutated strain would impact us in basically the same way.  Research shows that it does effect humans equivalently, but not enough data was obtained to have a clear conclusion.  This article is very startling.  If this mutated strain cannot be understood and stopped, it can easily spread to regions throughout the world.  The strain mutated fairly quickly since the initial outbreak of Ebola and deadlier strains can emerge soon.  

1 comment:

  1. I just did an article on this topic as well and I think it's so crazy that the virus can mutate that quickly. It's astonishing how well the virus is at making itself more fit to survive and thrive. Scary to think about what could happen if there was another outbreak.