Ebola and the Vast Viral Universe

Faculty member in Immunology and Molecular Pathogenesis, Dr. Aftab A. Ansari was mentioned in a New York Times article about the Ebola virus and how it disables the body’s coagulation system, leading to uncontrolled bleeding. By the time the body can rally its second line of defense, the adaptive immune system, it is often too late.

Yet the real lethality of Ebola stems from a case of mistaken location, a zoonotic jump from wild animal to human being, according to Ansari. The normal host for Ebola virus is the fruit bat, in which the virus replicates at a moderate pace without killing or noticeably sickening the bat.

“A perfect parasite is able to replicate and not kill its host,” Ansari said. “The Ebola virus is the perfect parasite for a bat.”

Click here to read the full New York Times article.