Scientists discover how Ebola virus prepares the body for infection

Scientists at Monash University have discovered how the Ebola virus preferentially prepares the body for infection.

Ebola virus is one of the leading causes of death in West Africa and caused 52000 cases and over 800 deaths in 2018 according to World Health Organization.

In order to prevent future outbreaks in its current crushing geographic scale the WHO recommends a two-pronged approach – halting those who have recently been exposed to the virus and implementing a one-time intake intervention campaign similar to the European 6-month targeting period.

How the virus selects infectioners is not completely clear however. It is thought that infectioners that are highly resistant will be leftovers while infections that are much less resistant will have previously been exposed to the virus.

This extreme precaution would mean that Ebola virus may be able to recur in many new conditions such as through travel or transmission between people.

This is one reason why the World Health Organization is settling on a two-pronged approach strategy. It proposes suspending all new infections before they occur and then starting fresh with an elimination campaign after a six-month lag.

We are aiming to eliminate asymptomatic or at-risk people to limit transmission of the disease co-author of a study published in the Lancet medical journal Maikel Rumbaugh said in an interview.

The study however did not investigate which people would be hardest hit by the new strategy and how their relatives would stop transmitting the virus.

Rumbaugh was a vocal opponent of previous targeting strategies warning that the failure to focus on transmission would increase morbidity rates.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has trained 13000 health workers across South Sudan an area the size of Belgium and Uganda and it is planning a governing body to scale up the number of protective tests.

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