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Is Ebola Evolving Into a More Deadly Virus?

A team of researchers, led by Pardis Sabeti, a genomic scientist at Harvard and the Broad Institute, studied the genetic code of various samples of Ebola taken from the blood of people who had been infected. They found that the virus began mutating as soon as it got into people. “From the outset, I was intrigued by the large number of mutations we found,” Sabeti told me. Makona Ebola quickly developed into several basic varieties. Then, in late May, 2014, one of the lineages took off like a wildfire and spread rapidly all over Sierra Leone and Liberia. This lineage is named the A82V Makona Variant of Ebola. For simplicity, I’ll call it the Makona mutant. The majority of patients in the epidemic were infected with the Makona mutant, including all eleven individuals in the United States. Meanwhile, the other lineages of Ebola died out. It seemed that the Makona mutant had somehow beaten them in a contest for survival.  Read more....

 

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