Researchers said the genetic sequencing of virus samples from current patients was compared to the 2014–16 outbreaks and found to be so similar that they had to be closely related. Report, Posted online on Friday, which included researchers from the Guinea Ministry of Health, other laboratories in that country, the Pasteur Institute of Senegal, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Nebraska Medical Center, and the company Presencebio.
“Very few genomic changes occur, and for those to occur, the virus has to multiply,” Dr. Scheffner said. “I think the virus is in hibernation for the most part.”
“Among other things, it shows you what great insights into molecular whole genome sequencing can provide,” he said. “Until this moment, we all thought that the current outbreak was, by nature, a result of transmission by bats. But it came from a human reservoir. “
Michael Wiley, a virologist at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and chief executive of Prenancebio who provided the material used to study the samples, described the current outbreak as a “continuation” of the previous one.
He said that frequent infections and sexual transmission were recognized during the West African outbreak and one in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Each new milestone has come as a setback for viral persistence, he said: first 180 days, then 500 days and now more than five years after the initial infection.
The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement by its spokesperson, Thomas Skinner, “The CDC has reviewed sequencing data from samples taken during the current outbreak in Guinea. While we cannot be 100 percent certain, the CDC agrees that the data support the conclusion that current outbreak cases during the 2014–2016 West Africa Ebola outbreak are potentially associated with cases in the region. “
He said: “This suggests that the outbreak likely began with a persistent infection, a survivor, not a new introduction of the virus from an animal reservoir. While we have linked the outbreak to survivors in the Democratic Republic of Congo, 2014-2016. The period between the end of the outbreak and the emergence of this outbreak is astonishing and highlights the need for further research to better understand the complex epidemiology of Ebola’s ecology