Accounting for population structure reveals ambiguity in the Zaire Ebolavirus reservoir dynamics

By Bram Vrancken*, Tony Wawina-Bokalanga*, Bert Vanmechelen, Joan Martí-Carreras, Miles W. Carroll, Justus Nsio, Jimmy Kapetshi, Sheila Makiala-Mandanda, Jean-Jacques Muyembe-Tamfum, Guy Baele, Kurt Vermeire, Valentijn Vergote, Steve Ahuka-Mundeke, and Piet Maes.

* contributed equally

The origin of emerging Zaire ebolavirus is investigated at each outbreak. To reliably do so a good understanding of the Zaire ebolavirus in its reservoir is needed. Therefore ebolavirus full genomes were used to investigate between-outbreak circulation dynamics. The results highlight the need to appropriately account for the limits of coalescent models when reconstructing between-outbreak evolutionary history. Contrary to what was expected the circulation dynamics of Ebola virus in its animal reservoir appeared highly uncertain.

Published March 2020 in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases

       Joan evolution in reservoir picture

HONOURs

Host switching pathogens, infectious outbreaks and zoonosis; a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network.

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 721367.