Appearing in the open-access scientific journal PLoS ONE, the study is the first in which RT-PCR and serological findings have both affirmed Marburg infection in a specific bat species. The natural reservoir for Marburg virus has been the subject of much speculation and scientific investigation. In demonstrating evidence of infection in this common species of fruit bat, the paper provides new insight into a deadly disease that has long baffled epidemiologists, ecologists and virologists, and in which the public has shown a sustained interest.
The work was done in collaboration between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, GA, and the Centre International de Recherches Médicales de Franceville (CIRMF) and the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, Franceville, Gabon.
“Identifying Marburg infection in the African fruit bats brings us one step closer to understanding this deadly disease,” says Dr. Eric Leroy of CIRMF, corresponding author on the paper.
Marburg virus and the related Ebola virus have caused large outbreaks with high case fatalities (80-90%) in humans and great apes. No vaccine or drug therapy is available presently. The paper reports detection of viral RNA from four out of 283 R. aegyptiacus bats in a collection of over 1100 bats tested, representing 10 species. Interestingly, 29 of 242 R. aegyptiacus bats also tested serologically positive for Marburg virus as evidenced by the presence of IgG antibodies in bat sera. Neither Marburg virus RNA nor specific antibody were detected in any of the other species of bats tested. All bats were trapped near caves in 2005 and 2006 in Gabon and the Republic of Congo. Genetic sequences obtained from the infected bats in this study are unique compared to other known Marburg virus sequences. R. aegyptiacus is widely distributed across sub-Saharan Africa.
“From a public health perspective, this discovery offers us new insight into the transmission of Marburg virus and potentially other filoviruses,” says Dr. Jonathan Towner, senior microbiologist at the CDC and lead author on the publication. The publication coincides with recent reports of Marburg infection among Ugandan miners.
Andrew Hyde | alfa
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Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
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