Ebola Virus Essay, Research Paper
With a ninety percent mortality rate, high mutation capability, and
opportunities for genetic re-assortment Ebola Zaire is one of the most deadly
and unforgiving viruses in the known world. A new family of viruses termed
filoviruses, was first discovered in 1967 Marburg W. Germany. Ebola Zaire was
first isolated in 1976 at Center of Disease Control, Porton Down in the UK, and
at the Institute for Tropical Diseases in Antwerp, Belgium. Immunological
uniqueness was found in the laboratory of Dr. Karl Johnson at the Center for
Disease Control Atlanta. Since then, there have been five more included in this
It is a biological level 4 pathogen, meaning there is no known cure. It
is one of the hardest and most deadly to work and study with. There are only
two labs in the world that are effectively capable of and authorized to handling
the hot virus. Both of these labs are in the United States: The United States
Army Research Institute of Infectious Disease (USAMRID) in Reston, Virginia, and
the Center for Disease Control (CDC), in Atlanta, Georgia.
Ebola Zaire if great at what it does, to well. It kills so quickly that
the index case, the first person to start an outbreak is usually dead before the
proper authorities can show up and try to back track where it came from, defying
a decent strategy to keep people away from its natural reservoir. However, it
destroys the body so quickly that it doesn’t have a chance to spread very far,
at least in humans. This virus is a true paradox.
Ebola Zaire is a nasty little virus with no known cure. The natural
reservoir for the virus is still unknown. If the host could be found, a serum
could be made of the antibodies in its blood. It must have a stable host, one
in which it has reached equilibrium with. Collection of animal specimens is
currently underway to determine the source. The possible species in tropical
Africa are so numerous that a long and lucky search is likely to be required.
The virus itself can be decimated by Ultra Violet light, gamma rays,
irradiation, lipid solvents, detergents, and common disinfectants.
Moving quickly, thanks to modern technology and with no known hosts,
this virus could one day, become a world wide problem. Given that filoviruses
with increased potential for rapid evolution, because of the high error rate of
ribonucleic acid polymerases that they use to replicate their genomes could
easily become a problem. With major airports and fast planes the virus could
incubate in a body and spread all over the world very easily.