First Ebola-like virus found in Europe
Madrid – Researchers from Spain and the US have discovered an Ebola-like filovirus in bats in northern Spain. The first known filovirus native to Europe was reported in a study published in the journal PLOS Pathogens (doi:10.1371). The publication resulted from a collaboration between scientists at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, the Instituto de Salud Carlos III in Spain, 454 Life Sciences, the Centro de Investigación Príncipe Felipe, Complutense University and several other Spanish insitutes. In 2002, populations of the common bent-wing bat Miniopterus schreibersii in the Cueva del Lloviu caves, as well as France and Portugal, sustained massive die-offs that destroyed several colonies in less than 10 days. While sequencing the genomes of bat carcasses from Asturias and Cantabria, researcher Ana Negredo and colleagues discovered a novel filovirus identical to Ebola along 73% of its genome. The virus, which they named Lloviu virus, was not found in healthy bats, which indicates it is associated with the disease rather than simply asymptomatic carriage. “The study is an opportunity to advance knowledge of the natural cycle of the pathogen,” said Negredo, who was one of the authors of the study.