Mutant Ebola Behind Devastating Epidemic
West Africa recently suffered from one of the biggest ebola outbreaks they have ever seen, and it is all because ebola has mutated.
A study, published in the journal Cell has shown that ebola has mutated. It’s genes have altered, with a C gene becoming a T, which has made the disease even more infectious. This has caused massive problems and made it more difficult to control.
The virus has increased the number of people being affected by at least fourfold, making it all the more lethal.
Biologists raised concerns over the virus when it was noticed that despite efforts to sqaush, the virus was still continuing to infect people at an alarming rate.
The mutant version of the virus started in Ghana, before making its way through West Africa. It became so potent that it made its way to Texas, proving just how quickly this nasty virus can make its way around the world.
Vincent Racaniello, a virologist at Columbia University, says of the outbreak in West Africa.
“What’s frightening is the outbreak, which affected tens of thousands of people and killed many thousands of people. I think that’s very scary.”
The great thing, however, is that since the mutation has occurred, its actually likely it has been eradicated.
“That [mutant] virus, as far as we know, it’s not circulating anymore. It’s not causing infections anymore in people in West Africa.”
The mutant virus is likely gone for a variety of reasons. Partially because it has been discovered, and partially because whatever mutation occurred makes it impossible to infect animals. Because of this, the virus cannot be sent to animals to harbor for months or years before re-infecting someone with a bite or after being in contact with the animal.
While the mutation may have proved to deadly for thousands of people, it has also provided a form of self-sabatoge. Since the epidemic has left West Africa, there is no reason to believe that the mutant virus is lingering on with it. Instead, it’s now totally disappeared, and hopefully this means it won’t be back to rear its ugly head.