The Ebola virus and it’s close relative the Marburg virus are members of the Filoviridae family. These viruses are the causative agents of severe hemorrhagic fever, a disease with a fatality rate of up to 90%. The Ebola virus infects mainly the capillary endothelium and several types of immune cells. The symptoms of Ebola infection include maculopapular rash, petechiae, purpura, ecchymoses, dehydration and hematomas.
Since Ebola was first described in 1976, there have been several epidemics of this disease. Hundreds of people have died because of Ebola infections, mainly in Zaire, Sudan, Congo and Uganda. In addition, several fatalities have occurred because of accidents in laboratories working with the virus. Currently, a number of scientists claim that terrorists may use Ebola as a biological weapon.
In the 3D model presented in this study, Ebola-encoded structures are shown in maroon, and structures from human cells are shown in grey. The Ebola model is based on X-ray analysis, NMR spectroscopy, and general virology data published in the last two decades. Some protein structures were predicted using computational biology techniques, such as molecular modeling.
The Ebola virion is rod-shaped or 6-shaped, is 80 nm in diameter and up to 1,400 nm in length. In comparison, the diameter of HIV is 100–120 nm.
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Lewis L. Sadler, MA, MSc
Chief Science Officer,
Visible Productions, Inc.
Research Assistant Professor,
Director NeuroImage Science Laboratory
Department of Neurosurgery, College of Medicine
University of Illinois at Chicago.
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