Ebola &

Robert Morrell bmorrell at isnet.is.wfu.edu
Thu Jun 15 13:04:13 EST 1995

robinso1 at ix.netcom.com (Bill P. Robinson) wrote:
> At the end of the book it is revealed that four workers at the Reston
> facility has contracted the ebola virus.  However, the virus had
> mutated into a new form that was not fatal.  Would these four
> individuals now have any immunity to usually fatal form of Ebola (Ebola
> Zaire) because their immune systems had presumably adapted to the non
> fatal form of the virus (Ebola Reston)?

It is possible, but only that. In the book the viruses were so 
similar that they cross reacted, this is how the first vaccine
was developed, using the similar cowpox to stop small pox. So far so
However, a broader question would be would simple antibodies provide
sufficient protection? That is, does the virus "go to ground" too fast
for the antibodies to catch it, (going inside the cell) and is the 
explosion of viral replication too fast or does some other tactical
aspect of the virus's interaction with humans make it less vulnerable
to a prepared antibody response? (what is the antibody response like
in humans? I don't remember this being laid out in the Hot Zone)

These are  tough questions, and there is not a really good way to 
test the idea, since you would have to infect people with E. reston,
and then expose them to E. zaire. Volunteers? 

darn gripping book though, wasn't it?

Bob Morrell
bmorrell at isnet.is.wfu.edu

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