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Link Between Ebola Outbreaks

The new Ebola outbreak in Guinea may be traced to a survivor of the previous epidemic in the region, Science reports.

It adds that the current outbreak appears to have begun with the death of a 51-year-old nurse who was thought to have typhoid and malaria, but after her caregiver and attendees of her funeral fell ill, researchers began instead to suspect Ebola. According to Science, a phylogenetic analysis of samples from affected individuals found that the new outbreak samples clustered with viral samples from the 2013 to 2016 Ebola epidemic.

This, researchers from the Guinea Ministry of Health, the Institut Pasteur de Dakar, and elsewhere note in a post to virological.org, suggests that the outbreak is not due to spillover from an animal host, but is linked to the previous outbreak. The New York Times notes that the virus may linger in immunologically privileged sites of the body like the eyes, central nervous system, and testes, which are all also difficult to study. 

Science adds that there are concerns that the findings may increase stigmatization of Ebola survivors who already face challenges.

The Scan

Shape of Them All

According to BBC News, researchers have developed a protein structure database that includes much of the human proteome.

For Flu and More

The Wall Street Journal reports that several vaccine developers are working on mRNA-based vaccines for influenza.

To Boost Women

China's Ministry of Science and Technology aims to boost the number of female researchers through a new policy, reports the South China Morning Post.

Science Papers Describe Approach to Predict Chemotherapeutic Response, Role of Transcriptional Noise

In Science this week: neural network to predict chemotherapeutic response in cancer patients, and more.