Newly discovered Ebola virus associated with hemorrhagic fever outbreak in Uganda

Towner, Jonathan S.; Sealy, Tara K.; Khristova, Marina L.; Albariñ, César G.; Conlan, Sean; Reeder, Serena A.; Quan, Phuong-Lan; Lipkin, W. Ian; Downing, Robert; Tappero, Jordan W.; Okware, Samuel; Lutwama, Julius; Bakamutumaho, Barnabas; Kayiwa, John; Comer, James A.; Rollin, Pierre E.; Ksiazek, Thomas G.; Nichol, Stuart T.

In this report we describe a newly discovered ebolavirus species which caused a large hemorrhagic fever outbreak in western Uganda. The virus is genetically distinct, differing by more than 30% at the genome level from all other known ebolavirus species. The unique nature of this virus created challenges for traditional filovirus molecular based diagnostic assays and genome sequencing approaches. Instead, we quickly determined over 70% of the virus genome using a recently developed random-primed pyrosequencing approach that allowed the rapid development of a molecular detection assay that was deployed in the disease outbreak response. This draft sequence allowed easy completion of the whole genome sequence using a traditional primer walking approach and prompt confirmation that this virus represented a new ebolavirus species. Current efforts to design effective diagnostics, antivirals and vaccines will need to take into account the distinct nature of this important new member of the filovirus family.


Also Published In

More About This Work

Academic Units
Center for Infection and Immunity
Published Here
March 17, 2011