From Ebola to swine flu to HIV/Aids, viruses borne by animals have caused some of the most devastating epidemics in history. What will come next? In Sierra Leone, Joe Shute (a reporter with The Telegraph) joins PREDICT scientists working to find Disease X – a virus that is as yet undiscovered, but which could have the potential to ravage populations.
For the first time, scientists discovered a new ebolavirus species in a host prior to detection in an infected human or sick animal. This discovery Illustrates PREDICT project’s goal to find viruses before they spill over into people.
Scientists have identified a novel ebolavirus in free-tailed bats in Sierra Leone, providing the strongest evidence to date that bats are the natural hosts of these viruses. The new virus, called Bombali virus, was found in insectivorous bats roosting inside people’s houses. There is currently no evidence of human infection or spillover of this virus.