Researchers from the Department of Defense (DOD) and Noblis Inc. have discovered genetic signatures of the Ebola virus missed in previous attempts to sequence the virus's genome, the company announced Tuesday.
Using an algorithm developed by Noblis, BioVelocity, researchers were able to identify 10 previously unknown signatures. They state this is due to limitations of current and prior sequencing technology and methodology. The signatures that were identified led researchers to believe that the virus has been mutating in more ways than they had expected.
The company has partnered with the DOD's Medical Countermeasures Systems (MCS) within the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense and the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID).
"In high-consequence outbreaks, it is critically important to assess how well current identification techniques perform against the species circulating in the outbreak," Shanmuga Sozhamannan of the Tauri Group, which supports the MCS Critical Reagents Program, said. "Whole genome sequencing of the circulating species -- together with tools such as BioVelocity -- can have a material impact on the spread of the disease and on lives."
The company has announced that the algorithm will be made available to researchers worldwide in order to bolster the recovery and prevention efforts of the ongoing outbreak in West Africa.