Human Diversity of Killer Cell Immunoglobulin-Like Receptors and Human Leukocyte Antigen Class I Alleles and Ebola Virus Disease Outcomes

Emerg Infect Dis. 2021 Jan;27(1):76-84. doi: 10.3201/eid2701.202177.


We investigated the genetic profiles of killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIRs) in Ebola virus-infected patients. We studied the relationship between KIR-human leukocyte antigen (HLA) combinations and the clinical outcomes of patients with Ebola virus disease (EVD). We genotyped KIRs and HLA class I alleles using DNA from uninfected controls, EVD survivors, and persons who died of EVD. The activating 2DS4-003 and inhibitory 2DL5 genes were significantly more common among persons who died of EVD; 2DL2 was more common among survivors. We used logistic regression analysis and Bayesian modeling to identify 2DL2, 2DL5, 2DS4-003, HLA-B-Bw4-Thr, and HLA-B-Bw4-Ile as probably having a significant relationship with disease outcome. Our findings highlight the importance of innate immune response against Ebola virus and show the association between KIRs and the clinical outcome of EVD.

Keywords: Ebola virus disease; Ebola virus infection; Guinea; Zaire ebolavirus; human leukocyte antigens; human leukocyte antigens class I; killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptor genes; killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptors; natural killer cells; viral zoonoses; viruses; zoonoses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Bayes Theorem
  • Genotype
  • HLA Antigens
  • Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola* / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Receptors, KIR / genetics


  • HLA Antigens
  • Receptors, KIR