New Virus in the Ebola Family Found in Bats in Sierra Leone

A new virus has been discovered as part of the PREDICT Ebola Host Research Project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The new virus belonging to the ebolavirus group was discovered in five insect-eating bats in Sierra Leone. It is known as Bombali virus (BOMV) and is distinct from all previously known ebolaviruses.

Based on laboratory experiments, researchers report that the virus has the potential to enter human cells – but it is not known whether it has the potential of infecting anyone or if it is harmful. Studies are ongoing to understand if this virus can cause disease, and the government of Sierra Leone and international partners like UC Davis and Columbia University are engaging local communities to convey what is known about the new virus, and how to live safely with bats.

This virus is distinct from all previously known ebolaviruses. Based on laboratory experiments, researchers report that the virus has the potential to enter human cells – but it is not known whether it has the potential of infecting anyone or if it is harmful. Studies are ongoing to understand if this virus can cause disease, and the government of Sierra Leone and international partners like UC Davis and Columbia University are engaging local communities to convey what is known about the new virus, and how to live safely with bats.

Source: Goverment of Sierra Leone Ministry of Health and Sanitation

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