Ebola, Simpler Than HIV Retrovirus, But Can Kill More Rapidly

“Ebola is only a 7-gene (RNA) ‘infectious particle (filovirus),’ so streamlined it isn’t even a cell, isn’t even alive, can reduce a human body to a puddle, inner barriers dissolving into nothingness, within days. How does Ebola virus, so much simpler than influenza, simpler than HIV retrovirus, do it?”

- Ricki Lewis, Ph.D., Genetics Science Writer

 

Electronmicroscope image of Ebola filovirus.
Electronmicroscope image of Ebola filovirus.
Scanning electron micrograph of Ebola virus in body tissue. Photo NIAID.
Scanning electron micrograph of Ebola virus in body tissue. Photo NIAID.

October 30, 2014  Galveston, Texas - The 2014 Ebola outbreak is the biggest since the filovirus's first emergence in 1976 as a devastating infectious disease in Sudan and Zaire, Africa, 38 years ago.

The current good news is that seven Americans treated in U. S. hospitals with blood plasma transfusions from Ebola survivors and a few experimental drugs have recovered. One American doctor, Craig Spencer, remains in “serious but stable” condition at Bellevue Hospital Center in New York after a blood plasma transfusion from Ebola survivor Nancy Writebol. Dr. Spencer returned in mid-October symptom-free to New York City after treating Ebola patients in Guinea, West Africa. But on October 23rd, with a fever, he was admitted to Bellevue.

 

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