The discovery of Bombali virus adds further support for bats as hosts of ebolaviruses

virus hunters

The discovery of Bombali virus adds further support for bats as hosts of ebolaviruses

Tracey Goldstein, Simon J. Anthony, Aiah Gbakima, brian H. Bird, James Bangura, Alexandre Tremeau-Bavard, Manjunatha N. Belaganahalli, Heather L. Wells, Jasjeet K. Dhanota, Eliza Liang, Michael Grodus, Rohit K. Jangra, Veronica A. DeJesus, Gorka Lasso, Brett R. Smith, Amara Jambai, Brima O. Kamara, Sorie Kamara, William Bangura, Corina Monagin, Sagi Shapira, Christine K. Johnson, Karen Saylors, Edward M. Rubin, Kartik Chandran, W. Ian Lipkin & Jonna A.K. Mazet

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USAID PREDICT Project researchers discovered a novel filovirus, Bombali ebolavirus (BOMV), in free-tailed bat species roosting within homes in Sierra Leone.  

Key Findings  

  • A new ebolavirus was discovered in bats before any reported disease diagnoses in humans 
  • BOMV is believed to be capable of infecting humans, as in vitro research revealed that the BOMV surface protein can bind to human receptors, thus mediating viral entry into human cells 

Informing Action 

The ability to discover and characterize unknown viruses before any documented viral spillover or disease outbreak, highlights the success and efficacy of a proactive, prevention-oriented, One Health approach to disease surveillance.  

Key Definition: One Health – the concept and approach that acknowledges the health of people, animals, and their shared environments are interconnected 

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