Genomic surveillance elucidates Ebola virus origin and transmission during the 2014 outbreak

Published in Science, 2014

Gire SK, Goba A, Andersen KG, Sealfon RSG, Park DJ, Kanneh L, Jalloh S, Momoh M, Fullah M, Dudas G, Wohl S, Moses LM, Yozwiak NL, Winnicki S, Matranga CB, Malboeuf CM, Qu J, Gladden AD, Schaffner SF, Yang X, Jiang P, Nekoui M, Colubri A, Moinya Coomber R, Fonnie M, Moigboi A, Gbakie M, Kamara FK, Tucker V, Konuwa E, Saffa S, Sellu J, Abdul Jalloh A, Kovoma A, Koninga J, Mustapha I, Kargbo K, Foday M, Yillah M, Kanneh F, Robert W, James L. B. Massally, Chapman SB, Bochicchio J, Murphy C, Nusbaum C, Young S, Birren BW, Grant DS, Scheiffelin JS, Lander ES, Happi C, Gevao SM, Gnirke A, Rambaut A, Garry RF, Khan SH, Sabeti PC, 2014. "Genomic surveillance elucidates Ebola virus origin and transmission during the 2014 outbreak". Science 345(6202): 1369-1372.

Abstract

In its largest outbreak, Ebola virus disease is spreading through Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria. We sequenced 99 Ebola virus genomes from 78 patients in Sierra Leone to ~2000× coverage. We observed a rapid accumulation of interhost and intrahost genetic variation, allowing us to characterize patterns of viral transmission over the initial weeks of the epidemic. This West African variant likely diverged from central African lineages around 2004, crossed from Guinea to Sierra Leone in May 2014, and has exhibited sustained human-to-human transmission subsequently, with no evidence of additional zoonotic sources. Because many of the mutations alter protein sequences and other biologically meaningful targets, they should be monitored for impact on diagnostics, vaccines, and therapies critical to outbreak response.

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