Ebola Virus: Lung-Specific Ebola Infection Discovered

By Anne Dominguez , Jan 07, 2017 12:32 PM EST

Researchers found Ebola virus developing in the lungs. A patient recovering from Ebola was discovered with RNA associated replication in the lungs. The researchers added that this could help new studies of different treatment approaches of the virus.

Since, its discovery in Africa, there has been numerous unprecedented outbreak of hemorrhagic Ebola. Studies and observations in patients treated in Europe and the United States suggest it might cause damage in the lungs by replicating itself in lung tissue but there are no solid evidences yet. This discovery could also lead to better understanding of the transmission of Ebola virus.

In a study published in PLOS Pathogens on Thursaday, Jan. 5. Researchers tracked the presence of a virus in the body of a patient to gain better understanding of its infection patterns. The patient was a health worker who was infected in West Africa and is being treated in Rome.   

The researchers longitudinally explored and monitored the presence of RNA fragments associated with Ebola in the lungs compared to the plasma and other body compartments during the patients treatment and recovery. The results suggest that the viral RNA and viral replication markers were found in the lungs for five days even after it was no longer detected in the blood.

"We demonstrated a long persistence EBOV replication markers within the respiratory tract, compared to plasma," the researchers said according to Science Daily. "This suggests a major role of the respiratory tissues in the pathogenesis of Ebola virus disease."

There's a possibility that the lungs only protected the RNA virus longer than other parts of the body. But, the researchers noted that there is also presence of replicators in the lungs. The results gave the researchers better perception of the biological features of the Ebola virus and the role of the lungs in human-to-human transmissions.

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