While it has yet to be determined if it can infect human cells, medical experts are already rolling out their research on the new Ebola species found, per the pronouncement of the Sierra Leone government.
“It is really interesting. I think it’s exciting. But I think we have a lot of work to do to really understand if it is a pathogen and whether it does or doesn’t pose a threat,” Tracey Goldstein, of the One Health Institute at UC Davis, said in a PBS.org report.
“The (Sierra Leone) government statement said studies are under way to assess if the virus can cause disease, and government officials and their research partners are engaging with local communities to share what is known about the new virus and how to live safely with bats,” a report read.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has recently received a sample of the said new Ebola species, said in a report that it is “sufficiently different from other types of ebolaviruses to qualify as a separate species.”
The World Health Organization defined the Ebola virus disease, formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, as “a severe, often fatal illness in humans.” The virus first appeared in 1976 in South Sudan, where two outbreaks were reported. However, the outbreaks that took place from 2014 to 2016 proved to be “the largest and most complex” since its discovery.
“Ebola is introduced into the human population through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals such as chimpanzees, gorillas, fruit bats, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines found ill or dead or in the rainforest,” the WHO said, adding that human-to-human transition was through direct contact such as blood, secretions, and other bodily fluids.
As a result, health practitioners treating Ebola patients were not spared.
The last of the new Ebola species was discovere back in 2007, referred to as “Bundibugyo.”