Ongoing activities in EVIDENT
Despite the fact that the ongoing outbreak has generated a significant amount of research data, one of the poorly known aspects of EVD is the mechanism/s of human-to-human transmission. EVIDENT teams are looking into transmission 'signatures' by looking at 'prints' left by the virus on the host immune systems. This strategy, combined with epidemiological data from WHO will hopefully help to track individual transmission events and, maybe, even allow us to reconstruct multiple transmission events such as those occurring during traditional funerals. Additionally, in order to search for biomarkers of outcome, BNITM and University of Ljubljana investigators are dissecting cytokine responses during EVD in the BSL4 laboratory in Hamburg.
EVIDENT scientists continue to assess the immune response in EVD survivors and direct contacts of EBOV infected individuals. To date EVIDENT volunteers from PHE, Riga Institute (Belgium), Nottingham University and FOSAD have processed blood samples from over 100 EVD survivors and 70 direct contacts. Initial ELSIPOT studies have been performed in the EVIDENT laboratory in Gueckedou and collaborative laboratories in Conakry by EVIDENT and Guinean scientists. Samples have been transported to Europe to undergo further immune analysis in the UK and Marburg. Initial data suggests naturally acquired immunity to EBOV is both potent and long lasting.