The Ebola Virus Essay

2418 words - 10 pages

Introduction
One time or another most of us has had a cold or the flu. These are caused by viruses. Viruses are minor infectious agents that replicates only inside living cells of other organisms.1 Unlike human cells or bacteria, viruses do not have enough chemical mechanisms (enzymes) to carry out chemical feedback in life. Instead, viruses carry about one or two enzymes that interpret their genetic instructions. Therefore, a virus must have a host cell in which to survive, replicate, and produce more viruses. Without a host cell, a virus cannot function. For this reason, viruses tread the line that separates nonliving and living organisms. Many scientists agree that viruses are living because of what happens when they infect the host cell.1 The flu or the common cold viruses are not as harmful as the Ebola and Herpes virus. Bacteria on the other hand, are a type of living, single cell microorganisms. There are plenty of non-harmful bacteria in the environment, but bacteria like Yersinia pestis(Bubonic plague), which can be really deadly and dangerous. Unlike viruses, bacteria do not need a host cell, they are independent and can reproduce without an exterior body. Even though viruses and bacteria may seem similar to a regular person, they are widely different in so many ways, including their cellular and molecular structures, treatments, and how it interacts with its host. This paper I will discuss the above in detail.
Taxonomy
Ebola is a very aggressive pathogen that cause(s) a lethal hemorrhagic fever syndrome in human and nonhuman primates.2The virus can be classified in the subfamily of the Filoviridae. The Ebola fever is a group of five virus, which possess a negative sense single stranded RNA genomes. The structure of this virus is not the typical virus shape. It is a long, filamentous U-shape and the genome are about 19kb long and includes seven open reading frames coding, structural proteins including virion envelope glycoprotein, nucleoprotein, and matrix proteins (VP24 & VP40), and nonstructural proteins, including VP30, VP35, and the viral polymerase.2
Interaction with its Host
There are four different subtypes of the Ebola virus: Zaire, Sudan, Cote D’Ivoire, and Reston. They are all named in which the region they were first identified in. The first three were found in Central Africa and caused severe hemorrhagic fever, while the Reston is found in the USA. Although this is highly pathogenic in primates, it is not known to cause illness in humans. As crazy as it sounds, but scientists believes that humans are not the host or natural reservoir. Among the suspected reservoirs for Ebola are bats, primates, rodents, and insects that inhabit tropical forests in Africa and Asia. Researchers trapped small animals that were found near Ebola-infected gorillas and chimpanzee between 2001 and 2003.3 Evidence showed that three species captured had a symptomless infection.3 They had genetic sequences in their bodies or evidence of an immune...

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