In a series of papers in the journals Nature and Nature Protocols, we used Zika virus sequencing from patients and mosquitos to show how the virus has spread across South America and into Florida. This work was performed as a large (huge!) collaboration of national and international institutions, which was made possible because of open science and open data.
In a recent study published in Cell together with colleagues from UMass Worcester and the Broad, we show how a single mutation that occurred during the 2013-2016 Ebola virus disease epidemic in West Africa increased the ability of the virus to infect human cells. The mutation occurred in the Ebola virus glycoprotein and is located in the receptor binding domain of…
The 2013-2016 Ebola epidemic in West Africa was of unprecedented size and devastation, but also stands a landmark for infectious disease genomics. By sequencing virus genomes directly from patient samples, scientists are now able to investigate how viruses evolve, transmit between individuals, and spread across country borders during outbreaks, directly informing infection control.
In a technical comment in Science, we show how a study published in 2015 by Hoenen, Feldmann, and others was based on faulty analyzes and a misunderstanding of the findings. The original article by the authors, as well as a later published erratum, failed to account for significant data analysis errors performed by Hoenen and colleagues.
The epidemics of Ebola virus in West Africa and Zika virus in America highlight how viruses can explosively emerge into new territories. These epidemics also exposed how unprepared we are to handle infectious disease emergencies. This is also true when we consider hypothesized new clinical features of infection, such as the associations between Zika virus infection and severe neurological disease,…
Infectious disease outbreaks continue to pose challenges to global health and security, prompting reactive countermeasures. Recently, severe outbreaks of Ebola and Zika virus were designated by the World Health Organization as “Public Health Emergencies of International Concern.” Other emerging viral pathogens have warranted similar attention, including virus outbreaks from Lassa, Chikungunya, avian influenza, Nipah, SARS, and MERS.
In a large multi-disciplinary collaboration between partners in Sierra Leone, Nigeria, USA, and Europe, we have published our first study on Lassa virus evolution. The paper – which appears on the front page of the August issue of Cell – is the result of seven years of work on Lassa fever across West Africa.
In a large collaboration between the Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Consortium, Kenema Government Hospital, Harvard University, Broad Institute, Tulane University, Edinburgh University, the CDC, USAMRIID, and others we have just published a paper in Cell detailing the epidemiology, transmission, and evolution of Ebola virus over seven months in Sierra Leone.