Nav: Home

New bat-borne virus related to Ebola discovered by Singapore team

January 07, 2019

Researchers from Singapore's Duke-NUS Medical School, in collaboration with scientists in China, have identified and characterised a new genus of filovirus from a Rousettus bat in China. Their findings were published in the journal Nature Microbiology. Bat-borne viruses around the world pose a threat to human and animal health. Filoviruses, especially Ebola virus and Marburg virus, are notoriously pathogenic and capable of causing severe and often fatal fever diseases in humans by affecting many organs and damaging blood vessels.

"Studying the genetic diversity and geographic distribution of bat-borne filoviruses is very important for risk assessment and outbreak prevention as this type of infectious disease can affect the general public without warning with devastating consequences," said Professor Wang Lin-Fa, Director of the Emerging Infectious Diseases Signature Research Programme at Duke- NUS Medical School, Singapore, and a senior author of the study.

The researchers discovered the new virus while analysing the diversity of filoviruses in Rousettus bats. They named it the Mengla virus because it was discovered in Megla County, Yunnan Province, China. They detected the virus from a bat sample and conducted sequencing and functional characterization studies.

The results showed that the Menga virus represents a new genus named Dianlovirus within the filovirus group. The Mengla virus is genetically distinct, sharing just 32 percent to 54 percent of its genetic sequence with other known filoviruses. It is found in different geographic locations compared to other filoviruses. This new genus, which could include more than one species, sits in between Ebola virus and Marburg virus on the evolutionary tree.

The researchers tested the Mengla virus in cell lines from various animal species and found that, like other filoviruses, it poses a potential risk of interspecies transmission.

The results confirmed that the Mengla virus is evolutionarily closely related to Ebola virus and Marburg virus and shares several important functional similarities with them. For example, the genome organisation of the Mengla virus is consistent with other filoviruses, coding for seven genes. The Mengla virus also uses the same molecular receptor, a protein called NPC1, as Ebola virus and Marburg virus to gain entry into cells and cause infection.

"The early identification of the filovirus from Rousettus bats by Prof Wang and researchers in China is one of the many strong research collaborations the Emerging Infectious Diseases (EID) Programme at Duke-NUS engages in," noted Professor Patrick Casey, Senior Vice Dean of Research, Duke-NUS Medical School. "With globalisation, it is important to identify and assess the risk of potential infectious disease outbreaks and, from it, develop effective controls strategies and treatments."

At present, the virus has only been identified in Rousettus bats in China. Further tests will be conducted to assess the risk of the virus spreading to other species.
-end-
Reference: Yang XL, Tan CW, Anderson DE, Jiang RD, Li B, Zhang W, Zhu Y, Lim XF, Zhou P, Liu XL, Guan W, Zhang L, Li SY, Zhang YZ, Wang LF and Shi ZL (2018). Characterization of a filovirus (Mengla virus) from Rousettus bats in China. Nature Microbiology. DOI: 10.1038/s41564-018-0328-y

Duke University Medical Center

Related Ebola Virus Articles:

Tulane researchers help find possible explanation for unparalleled spread of Ebola virus
The world may be closer to knowing why Ebola spreads so easily thanks to a team of researchers from Tulane University and other leading institutions who discovered a new biological activity in a small protein from the deadly virus.
New CDISC data standard aids development of therapies for Ebola virus
The Clinical Data Interchange Standards Consortium (CDISC) and the Infectious Diseases Data Observatory (IDDO) announce the availability of a new standard to assist in the collection, aggregation and analysis of Ebola virus disease (EVD) research data.
Silence is golden -- Suppressing host response to Ebola virus may help to control infection
The Ebola virus causes a severe, often fatal illness when it infects the human body.
How do Ebola virus proteins released in exosomes affect the immune system?
Cells infected by the deadly Ebola virus may release viral proteins such as VP40 packaged in exosomes, which, as new research indicates, can affect immune cells throughout the body impairing their ability to combat the infection and to seek out and destroy hidden virus.
Blood test can predict life or death outcome for patients with Ebola virus disease
Scientists have identified a 'molecular barcode' in the blood of patients with Ebola that can predict whether they are likely to survive or die from the viral infection.
NIH scientists identify early impact of Ebola virus on immune system
A new mouse model of early Ebola virus (EBOV) infection has shown National Institutes of Health (NIH) scientists and colleagues how early responses of the immune system can affect development of EBOV disease.
Could co-infection with other viruses affect the survival of those with Ebola virus?
Could co-infection with other viruses have a detrimental affect on Ebola survival, and why did some show Ebola symptoms without having the virus?
Researchers stress the need for research on Ebola virus disease in great apes
Ebola virus disease (EVD) is a threat to human health, but it also threatens the survival of African great apes.
Antimalarial being tested as possible Ebola virus drug
The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) recently awarded $596,533.00 to Collaborations Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Antibodies from Ebola survivors neutralize virus, protect against infection in lab mice
A study by scientists at the Emory Vaccine Center, in collaboration with the biotechnology company Atreca, Inc., has found that antibodies generated from the blood of survivors of Ebola virus disease can strongly neutralize the Ebola virus in the laboratory and protect mice from a lethal viral challenge.

Related Ebola Virus Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Changing The World
What does it take to change the world for the better? This hour, TED speakers explore ideas on activism—what motivates it, why it matters, and how each of us can make a difference. Guests include civil rights activist Ruby Sales, labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta, author Jeremy Heimans, "craftivist" Sarah Corbett, and designer and futurist Angela Oguntala.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#521 The Curious Life of Krill
Krill may be one of the most abundant forms of life on our planet... but it turns out we don't know that much about them. For a create that underpins a massive ocean ecosystem and lives in our oceans in massive numbers, they're surprisingly difficult to study. We sit down and shine some light on these underappreciated crustaceans with Stephen Nicol, Adjunct Professor at the University of Tasmania, Scientific Advisor to the Association of Responsible Krill Harvesting Companies, and author of the book "The Curious Life of Krill: A Conservation Story from the Bottom of the World".