Washington, November 21 : A research team has announced the discovery of a new species of Ebola virus, provisionally named Bundibugyo ebolavirus.
Writing about the discovery in the open-access journal PLoS Pathogens, the researchers revealed that the same virus was responsible for a hemorrhagic fever outbreak in western Uganda in 2007.
The team - comprising of researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia the Uganda Virus Research Institute; the Uganda Ministry of Health; and Columbia University - have revealed that the new virus is genetically distinct from all other known Ebola virus species, differing by more than 30% at the genetic level.
They say that they determined the genetic signature of the new Ebola virus species by using a recently developed random-primed pyro-sequencing approach, which enabled them to quickly determine the genetic sequence of over 70 per cent of the virus genome.
The researchers say that ongoing worldwide efforts to design effective diagnostics, antivirals, and vaccines will need to take into account the distinct nature of the newly found member of the Ebola virus genus.