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Ebola virus not mutating as quickly as thought

Finding gives emerging therapies, vaccines chance to keep up

By
2:22pm, March 26, 2015

REGULAR RATE  A genetic analysis suggests that the Ebola virus, shown here in orange, is not evolving as fast as expected.

The virus causing the current Ebola epidemic in West Africa is not evolving as quickly as some scientists had suggested.

In a paper last August, researchers reported that the virus (Zaire ebolavirus) was altering its genes almost twice as fast as it had during previous Ebola outbreaks in Central Africa (SN: 9/20/14, p. 7). However, a new genetic analysis shows that the virus is mutating at roughly the same rate as in past outbreaks, researchers report online March 26 in Science. The finding suggests the virus has not become more virulent or transmissible during the West Africa outbreak.

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