How this happened, however, is completely a mystery. The causative agent of Ebola fever is an RNA virus that lacks a molecular machine to translate DNA—which would be necessary for integration into the genome. And without it it is not possible how an RNA virus can survive in the body for many years. Keita and his work group therefore speculate: The virus continues to grow in the body, just very, very slowly.
So-called immune-privileged tissue, in which inflammatory responses are suppressed so as not to damage vital organs, may play a role in this. In fact, the case report shows that if the Ebola infection flares up again, there may be swelling of the brain or eyes.
It’s still not entirely clear how often the Ebola virus persists in the body for so long that it becomes contagious again – and whether this has anything to do with the long-term consequences of infection, which can affect those affected. Happens in many. However, the findings suggest that the virus persists in the body and can trigger new outbreaks even years later, Keita’s team writes. This suggests that there is a need for a paradigm shift in view of such outbreaks. In fact, there is also another Ebola outbreak in 2021, In May in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, there is strong evidence that a virus has been reactivated from a previous outbreak.
As a result of this finding, long-term medical care of Ebola victims should be prioritized, said the Robert F. of Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans. As Gary wrote in a comment to “Nature” – preferably without further stigmatizing it. In addition, additional research is needed on how to prevent the virus from coming back, he continues.
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