The secret of the origin of the Ebola virus has been revealed

At present, the most dangerous virus, against which there are no viruses or drugs, continues to spread and devastate the poor rural areas of Africa. But fortunately, at the present moment, the number of patients, even in Africa, has stopped increasing.

Scientists around the world are trying to prevent the spread of the virus, while at the same time investigating how this deadly infectious organism originated.

And in this direction some discoveries have already been made. It has been established that the Ebola virus originated in the geological epoch of the Miocene.

The Ebola hemorrhagic fever virus and its dangerous cousin – the Marburg virus /causes the disease Marburg hemorrhagic fever/belong to the filovirus family, which appeared 16-23 million years ago in the Miocene epoch.

The scientists reported their discovery in the journal PeerJ and in a press release from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

It was previously thought that modern filoviruses appeared about 10,000 years ago with the advent of agriculture. But American scientists have established that these viruses arose much earlier – in the era when apes first appeared on Earth.

Scientists Jeremy Brune and Derek Taylor conducted the study with “fossil genes” – fragments of genetic material found in the DNA of mammals during a viral infection.

One such filovirus gene /VP35/ appears in the same place in the genome of two species of hamsters and two species of voles /rodents similar to field mice/.

Scientists have established that the virus got into the DNA of animals even before they became separate species, that is, 16-23 million years ago.

In the genome of these animals there are billions of base pairs /two nucleotides of two complementary DNA or RNA/. The chances of a viral gene entering the same place in different species at different times are negligible.

Scientists note that most likely the penetration of the virus occurred in the common ancestor of rodents.

The fossilized VP35 gene is genetically closer to the Ebola virus than to Marburg – that is, in the Miocene epoch, these viruses began to diverge.

Scientists are also convinced that studying the ancient past of viruses can help humanity fight the current epidemic, so far confined mainly to poor rural areas of Africa – the evidence of the link between the virus of Ebola and Marburg would be applicable to the creation of a single vaccine for both diseases.

Also, new knowledge about past victims of filoviruses suggests which modern animal species may harbor unknown relatives of the Ebola virus in their genomes.

When scientists first began exploring the reservoirs of this virus, they rushed into the jungle to examine whatever they could get their hands on – mammals, insects, and other organisms.

According to the researchers, the more we know about the evolution of filoviruses with their hosts, the faster we will understand what other factors or actors influence their spread.

And as a conclusion, let us recall that the Ebola virus causes a rapidly progressive severe viral infection in humans, which in 50% of cases of infection ends in a fatal outcome.

However, several people in Spain and the US managed to fight off the virus infection and survived.

The method of treatment is rather supportive, there was even information that there were cases of healing with only water, but administered intravenously with added electrolytes.

This is how conditions were created for the immune system to strengthen and build antibodies against the virus and stop its invasion of the body.

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