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Review
, 11 (11), e1005221
eCollection

Ebolavirus Evolution: Past and Present

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Review

Ebolavirus Evolution: Past and Present

Marc-Antoine de La Vega et al. PLoS Pathog.

Abstract

The past year has marked the most devastating Ebola outbreak the world has ever witnessed, with over 28,000 cases and over 11,000 deaths. Ebola virus (EBOV) has now been around for almost 50 years. In this review, we discuss past and present outbreaks of EBOV and how those variants evolved over time. We explore and discuss selective pressures that drive the evolution of different Ebola variants, and how they may modify the efficacy of therapeutic treatments and vaccines currently being developed. Finally, given the unprecedented size and spread of the outbreak, as well as the extended period of replication in human hosts, specific attention is given to the 2014-2015 West African outbreak variant (Makona).

Conflict of interest statement

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

Figures

Fig 1
Fig 1. Ebolavirus outbreaks past and present.
(A) The geographic map of Africa and the bottom histogram illustrate the number of cases, deaths, and the geographic distribution of several Ebola viruses including Reston (RESTV), Tai Forest (TAFV), Ebola (EBOV, formerly Zaire), Sudan (SUDV), and Bundibugyo (BDBV). The histogram in the top right (B) is a review of the calculated evolutionary rates available for EBOV, EBOV-Makona, SUDV, and RESTV from various publications.
Fig 2
Fig 2. Phylogenetic comparison of Filoviridae variants past and present.
A phylogenetic analysis was undertaken of Filoviridae members from various historical outbreaks as well as the recent 2014–2015 West African outbreak. Thirty-one whole genome sequences were aligned using Clustal Omega 1.2 and visualized in Figtree 1.4.

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