Check out the most recent post on the NIH Director’s Blog by Francis Collins examining a recently published study examining the genome of the Ebola virus. This study pinpointed the outbreak and monitored how the genome has changed as the virus spreads. Sadly, a number of the authors on the study have contracted and died from the virus.
In a study just out in the journal Science, this fast-acting team reported that it has sequenced the complete genetic blueprints, or genomes, of 99 Ebola virus samples obtained from 78 patients in Sierra Leone. This new genomic data has revealed clues about the origin and evolution of the Ebola virus, as well as provided insights that may aid in the development of better diagnostics and inform efforts to devise effective therapies and vaccines.
To help advance such research, Sabeti’s team deposited its Ebola genome sequences, even prior to publication, in a database run by NIH’s National Center for Biotechnology Information’s (NCBI), which means the data is immediately and freely available to researchers around the world. Access to this genomic data should accelerate international efforts to figure out ways of detecting, treating, and, ultimately, preventing infection by this deadly virus.