Sunday, October 21, 2007

Ebola viruses 'capable of merging' into new strains

Scientists have discovered that a strain of Ebola virus isolated from wild apes in the Gabon/Congo region belongs to a new lineage and is capable of genetically merging with other strains of the virus to create new variants.

This ability of the lethal virus to 'recombine' genetic material has important implications for vaccine development, write the researchers. A vaccine that is made up of weakened viruses could merge with the wild virus to form new strains, making the spread of the virus in humans and apes harder to predict and control.


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