The Role of Host Proteins in Persistent Ebola Virus Infection

Lead Research Organisation: University of Liverpool
Department Name: Institute of Infection and Global Health


Ebola Virus is the aetiological agent for an acute haemorrhagic fever in humans and non-human primates. Five Ebola virus species have been identified, four of which cause haemorrhagic disease in humans. Zaire ebolavirus was responsible for the devastating outbreak in West Africa 2013-2016, where out of approximately 28,652 suspected cases there were 11,325 deaths. From the epidemic in West Africa, virus persistence in immune privilege sites was discovered. The ability of the virus to persist by sheltering in immune privileged sites has long-term consequences for survivors, including neurological complications, worsening eyesight, and the ability for males to sexually transmit the virus and females to transmit the virus via breast milk. These transmission routes of the virus are a public health concern due to the risk of further outbreaks. Through analysis of patient data from the 2013-2016 outbreak, virus replication proteins have been identified to be involved in virus persistence mechanisms. Identifying host proteins and cell signalling pathways that are essential for virus genome replication and survival will provide potential targets for repurposed therapeutics, thus, the potential to mitigate disease. This project will utilise a series of molecular virology techniques and bioinformatics to further investigate the role of host proteins in persistent Ebola infection.


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