The deadly Ebola virus can hide in the brain for years

On February 9, 2022, scientists published a groundbreaking Ebola study, revealing that this virus can persist in certain parts of the body. Even long after treatment with monoclonal antibodies, it can resurface and cause a deadly disease. The results of their research were reported by Science Translational Medicine.

Xiankun (Kevin) Zeng, Ph.D. and lead author of the article, provided his perspective on this alarming situation. He said that in Africa, some recent outbreaks ofEbola would be linked to a persistent infection. This would occur in patients who survived previous epidemics.

In 2021, the Ebola virus spread to Guinea due to a persistently infected survivor. By the way, this individual was still carrying the virus five years after themajor epidemic former.

The exact location of the persistent Ebola virus in the body was unknown

The “hiding place” of persistent Ebola virus and the underlying pathology of the recrudescent disease were not identifiable. This was particularly the case in patients who had been treated with standard therapeutic monoclonal antibodies.

Zeng and his team at the US Army’s Institute for Infectious Disease Medical Research wanted to dig deeper. They then took a non-human primate model to reproduce Ebola virus disease in humans as closely as possible. This actually allowed scientists to provide the answers to these questions.

“We found that approximately 20% of monkeys that survived lethal Ebola virus exposure after treatment with monoclonal antibodies still had persistent Ebola virus infection, particularly in the cerebral ventricular system in which fluid cerebrospinal is produced, circulating and contained, even when Ebola virus has been cleared from all other organs. »


An upsurge reported in human survivors

Researchers have already reported an upsurge of Ebola virus disease in survivors. A British nurse, for example, made a relapse of the virus in the brain. The patient suffered from meningoencephalitis nine months after her recovery from Ebola virus disease.


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