Genomics of Filoviruses

Filoviruses, such as Ebola Virus and Marburg virus, are examples of agents that induce hemorrhagic fever (VHF) and can result in high mortality (up to ~90 percent). Both Ebola and Marburg viruses and closely related strains cause severe diseases in humans and nonhuman primates. All the members of Filoviridae are select agents, Risk Group 4 Pathogens (requiring BL4-equvalent containment), and Category A Priority Pathogens. Filoviruses are negative sense RNA viruses in the order Mononegavirales and as the order delineates, the genome is single stranded negative sense RNA that is ~19 Kb in length. The increased frequency of outbreaks of hemorrhagic fever caused by Ebola-like strains in central and western Africa and the potential use of such agents as biological weapons underscore the need to understand pathogenesis of these viruses and to develop effective vaccines and antivirals.

The rationale behind the project is to obtain gold standard complete genome consensus sequences for filovirus stocks, and to determine if the stocks are free of other contaminating pathogens, including other filoviruses strains. Additionally, it would be advantageous to understand the level of SNP variation within the virus population and if some of this variation is due to the simultaneous sequencing of mRNA and the genomic RNA (this could result from RNA editing and other differences between mRNA and genomic RNAs). Additionally this study will examine the role MOI has on the diversity of three strains of Filoviruses upon passage in culture.


This project has been funded in whole or part with federal funds from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services under contract numbers N01-AI30071 and/or HHSN272200900007C.


David Wentworth, PhD
Director Viral Programs, JCVI

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