Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Recognise and control new variants of the deadly Ebola virus more quickly

06.02.2020

JOINT PRESS RELEASE BY THE DZIF AND CHARITÉ

People in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are still battling with an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus which has been ongoing since 2018 and has already claimed over 2000 lives. One issue is the precise characterisation of the pathogen because the ebolaviruses appear in various genetic forms.


The digitally-colorized scanning electron microscopic (SEM) image depicts numerous filamentous Ebola virus particles (blue) budding from a chronically-infected cell.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Only the analysis of its genetic material provides the information necessary to develop specific tests for diagnosis and decide on efficient measures for controlling the outbreak. A DZIF team at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin has now developed a test which accelerates the process of identifying the genetic makeup of the virus.

The situation is extraordinary: there have only ever been four declarations of public health emergencies of international concern in the past and now there are two at the same time.

Whilst the risks associated with the novel coronavirus are still unclear, people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are still battling with an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus which has been ongoing since 2018.

There have been multiple Ebola outbreaks in the last decades. Since 2013, at least eight countries have been affected and 30,000 people have contracted the virus. The origin of these outbreaks is often unclear and they are caused by various ebolavirus variants.

“At the moment, it often takes months to develop the right tools to fully characterise the genetic material of the ebolavirus causing an outbreak” explains Professor Jan Felix Drexler, a scientist at the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF) and Charité. “However, this knowledge is crucial for developing specific diagnostic tests, identifying transmission chains and eventually controlling the outbreak.”

The scientists in Professor Drexler’s team have now developed a test which provides information about the genetic material of new ebolaviruses regardless of the species or the variant, that is, of the genetic makeup.

The test is based on the commonly used polymerase chain reaction (PCR), using which the genetic material can be amplified in a manner that allows precise sequencing. The new test is compatible with various technical procedures such as high-throughput sequencing. It has been tested with four different ebolavirus species.

“In cases in which different regions and countries are affected by outbreaks of this kind in particular, it is necessary to establish whether the case in question relates to the spread of a previously known variant of the virus or a new outbreak,” explains the virologist. This is exactly what the new test can now determine in one process.

“Both in the current outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and in future outbreaks, we may now be able to characterise the trigger more quickly and take appropriate effective measures to end the outbreak,” says the scientist.

Scientists from Charité and Marburg DZIF are involved in the current study within the framework of the DZIF working group on “Virus detection and preparedness” and have the use of a high-security laboratory which is equipped for research into highly contagious viruses.

The research work was carried out in partnership with the rapidly deployable health expert group (SEEG) at the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and, in addition to the DZIF, it also received funding from the EU and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The establishment of the method in the GIZ global partner laboratories is currently being tested.

Wissenschaftliche Ansprechpartner:

Prof. Dr. Jan Felix Drexler
Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin
German Center for Infection Research
T: +49 30 450 525 461
Email: felix.drexler@charite.de

Originalpublikation:

Postigo-Hidalgo I, Fischer C, Moreira-Soto A, Tschaek P, Nagel M, Eickmann M, Drexler JF:
Pre-emptive genomic surveillance of emerging ebolaviruses
Eurosurveillance, Rapid communication, 23 January 2020
https://doi.org/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2020.25.3.1900765

Karola Neubert | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Further information:
http://www.dzif.de

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht UCLA research could be step toward lab-grown eggs and sperm to treat infertility
07.02.2020 | University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences

nachricht Fighting Against Multi-Resistant Bacteria
07.02.2020 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New coronavirus module in SORMAS

HZI-developed app for disease control is expanded to stop the spread of the pathogen

At the end of December 2019, the first cases of pneumonia caused by a novel coronavirus were reported from the Chinese city of Wuhan. Since then, infections...

Im Focus: New insights could lead to superconductivity in ambient conditions

A team of researchers from Switzerland, the US and Poland have found evidence of a uniquely high density of hydrogen atoms in a metal hydride. The smaller spacings between the atoms might enable packing significantly more hydrogen into the material to a point where it could begin to superconduct at room temperature and ambient pressure.

The scientists conducted neutron scattering experiments at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in the US on samples of zirconium vanadium hydride at...

Im Focus: Viscosity measurements offer new insights into the earth's mantle

An international research group with Dr. Longjian Xie from the Bavarian Research Institute of Experimental Geochemistry & Geophysics (BGI) of the University of Bayreuth has succeeded for the first time in measuring the viscosity that molten solids exhibit under the pressure and temperature conditions found in the lower earth mantle. The data obtained support the assumption that a bridgmanite-enriched rock layer was formed during the early history of the earth at a depth of around 1,000 kilometres – at the border to the upper mantle.

In addition, the data also provides indications that the lower mantle contains larger reservoirs of materials that originated in an early magma ocean and have...

Im Focus: Fast rotating white dwarf drags its space-time in a cosmic dance

According to Einstein's general relativity, the rotation of a massive object produces a dragging of space-time in its vicinity. This effect has been measured, in the case of the Earth’s rotation, with satellite experiments. With the help of a radio pulsar, an international team of scientists (with important contributions from scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany) were able to detect the swirling of the space-time around its fast-rotating white dwarf-companion star, and thus confirm the theory behind the formation of this unique binary star system.

In 1999, a unique binary system was discovered with the Australian Parkes Radio Telescope in the constellation Musca (the Fly), close to the famous Southern...

Im Focus: Quantum logic spectroscopy unlocks potential of highly charged ions

Scientists from the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) and the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics (MPIK) have carried out pioneering optical measurements of highly charged ions with unprecedented precision. To do this, they isolated a single Ar¹³⁺ ion from an extremely hot plasma and brought it practically to rest inside an ion trap together with a laser-cooled, singly charged ion. Employing quantum logic spectroscopy on the ion pair, they have increased the relative precision by a factor of a hundred million over previous methods. This opens up the multitude of highly charged ions for novel atomic clocks and further avenues in the search for new physics. [Nature, 29.01.2020]

Highly charged ions are—although seemingly exotic—a very natural form of visible matter. All the matter in our sun and in all other stars is highly ionized,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

11th Advanced Battery Power Conference, March 24-25, 2020 in Münster/Germany

16.01.2020 | Event News

Laser Colloquium Hydrogen LKH2: fast and reliable fuel cell manufacturing

15.01.2020 | Event News

„Advanced Battery Power“- Conference, Contributions are welcome!

07.01.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

How iron carbenes store energy from sunlight -- and why they aren't better at it

07.02.2020 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Using neutrons and X-rays to analyze the aging of lithium batteries

07.02.2020 | Power and Electrical Engineering

UCLA research could be step toward lab-grown eggs and sperm to treat infertility

07.02.2020 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>