For the first time, scientists have been able to follow the spread of an Ebola outbreak almost in real time, by sequencing the virus’ genome from people in Sierra Leone.
The findings, published Thursday in the journal Science, offer new insights into how the outbreak started in West Africa and how fast the virus is mutating.
A international team of researchers sequenced 99 Ebola genomes, with extremely high accuracy, from 78 people diagnosed with Ebola in Sierra Leone in June.
The Ebola genome is incredibly simple. It has just seven genes. By comparison, we humans have about 20,000 genes.