Nav: Home

Genetic sequencing points to endemic origin of monkeypox virus outbreak in Nigeria

January 18, 2018

Scientists working to control a human outbreak of monkeypox virus (MXPV) in Nigeria performed genetic sequencing of patient samples, revealing that the outbreak likely originated from a source within the country. Their results emphasize the value of local surveillance for the early detection of viral spillovers and the need for advanced genetic characterization to help determine the origins of outbreaks.

"Based on our findings, it appears that the index case of the current outbreak in Nigeria was not imported, but probably originated from a spillover event or events involving reservoir hosts," said Gustavo Palacios, Ph.D., who heads the Center for Genome Sciences at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases. USAMRIID and a multinational team of collaborators published their analysis in a letter posted online this week in the journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

According to the World Health Organization, 172 suspected and 61 confirmed MPXV cases, including one death, were reported in different parts of Nigeria between Sept. 4 and Dec. 9, 2017. Prior to this outbreak, only ten such cases had been reported in the region between 1971 and 1978. Due to this lapse and the recent cases in the Congo Basin, the origin of the latest Nigerian outbreak needed to be identified, as did whether the outbreak was a result of a local zoonotic spillover event or importation from another endemic country.

The research effort was supported by the Institut Pasteur in Dakar (IPD) in Senegal and the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency. Sequencing equipment was provided to IPD, where the sequencing was conducted, by the Targeted Acquisition of Reference Materials Augmenting Capabilities (TARMAC) initiative and the Defense Biological Product Assurance Office (DBPAO) through a task order award to the National Strategic Research Institute. Outbreak control teams were composed of staff from the Bayelsa State Ministry of Health, Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital, Nigeria Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program, and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.

According to Bruce Goodwin, director of the DBPAO, the sequencing capability established at IPD under the TARMAC initiative allowed for a significantly improved response time--less than two months from sample receipt to results that could be used by public health professionals working to control the outbreak. This effort demonstrates the importance of in-country sequencing capacity coupled with the appropriate protocols and support to produce actionable data. The data produced from this event was used to validate existing DBPAO assays, a process under TARMAC that ensures DBPAO is able to detect diseases of biodefense relevance.

Monkeypox virus was first identified in 1958 and has caused sporadic human outbreaks in central and western Africa, with a mortality rate between one and ten percent. Recently, MPXV outbreaks have occurred in Sudan (2005), the Republic of Congo and Democratic Republic of Congo (2009), and the Central African Republic (2016).

According to Palacios, genetic analysis of the virus's "family tree" indicates that the isolates described in the letter grouped most closely to a genome isolated from a human case in Ihie, Abia State, Nigeria in 1971, which is relatively close to the epicenter of the current outbreak.
-end-
About the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases:

USAMRIID's mission is to provide leading edge medical capabilities to deter and defend against current and emerging biological threat agents. Research conducted at USAMRIID leads to medical solutions--vaccines, drugs, diagnostics, and information--that benefit both military personnel and civilians. The Institute plays a key role as the lead military medical research laboratory for the Defense Threat Reduction Agency's Joint Science and Technology Office for Chemical and Biological Defense. USAMRIID is a subordinate laboratory of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command. For more information, visit http://www.usamriid.army.mil

About the Defense Biological Product Assurance Office:

DBPAO's mission is to employ best practices in providing the Department of Defense and its partners with a comprehensive collection of biological products that are thoroughly characterized, of the highest quality, adaptable, and traceable from source to application.

Reference:

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(18)30043-4/fulltext?elsca1=tlxpr

US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases

Related Virus Articles:

New insights into how the Zika virus causes microcephaly
Scientists have uncovered why Zika virus may specifically target neural stem cells in the developing brain, potentially leading to microcephaly.
New Zika virus inhibitor identified
Compound could serve as basis for drugs to prevent neurological complications of Zika.
Zeroing in on the Zika virus
Hobman has been announced as one of three Canadian scientists who have received funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) for their teams to study the Zika virus.
What does it take for an AIDS virus to infect a person?
Researchers examined the characteristics of HIV-1 strains that were successful in traversing the genital mucosa that forms a boundary to entry by viruses and bacteria.
Cough virus kills liver cancer cells and hepatitis virus
A virus that causes childhood coughs and colds could help in the fight against primary liver cancer, according to a study.
Characterizing the Zika virus genome
The sudden emergence of the Zika virus epidemic in Latin America in 2015-16 has caught the scientific world unawares.
Discovery of new Hepatitis C virus mechanism
Researchers at Osaka University, Japan uncovered the mechanisms that suppress the propagation of the hepatitis C virus with the potential of improving pathological liver conditions.
What does Zika virus mean for the children of the Americas?
A special communication article published online by JAMA Pediatrics explores whether new paradigms in child health may emerge because of Zika virus.
Predicting the spread of the Zika virus
A new tool by Japan-based researchers predicts the risk of Zika virus importation and local transmission for 189 countries.
An old new weapon against emerging Chikungunya virus
Researchers utilize existing drugs to interfere with host factors required for replication of Chikungunya virus.

Related 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

Setbacks
Failure can feel lonely and final. But can we learn from failure, even reframe it, to feel more like a temporary setback? This hour, TED speakers on changing a crushing defeat into a stepping stone. Guests include entrepreneur Leticia Gasca, psychology professor Alison Ledgerwood, astronomer Phil Plait, former professional athlete Charly Haversat, and UPS training manager Jon Bowers.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#524 The Human Network
What does a network of humans look like and how does it work? How does information spread? How do decisions and opinions spread? What gets distorted as it moves through the network and why? This week we dig into the ins and outs of human networks with Matthew Jackson, Professor of Economics at Stanford University and author of the book "The Human Network: How Your Social Position Determines Your Power, Beliefs, and Behaviours".