With a ninety percent mortality rate, high mutation capability, and opportunities for genetic re-assortment Ebola Zaire is one of the most deadly and unforgiving viruses in the known world. A new family of viruses termed filoviruses, was first discovered in 1967 Marburg W. Germany. Ebola Zaire was first isolated in 1976 at Center of Disease Control, Porton Down in the UK, and at the Institute for Tropical Diseases in Antwerp, Belgium. Immunological uniqueness was found in the laboratory of Dr. Karl Johnson at the Center for Disease Control Atlanta.
Since then, there have been five more included in this family. It is a biological level 4 pathogen, meaning there is no known cure. It is one of the hardest and most deadly to work and study with. There are only two labs in the world that are effectively capable of and authorized to handling the hot virus. Both of these labs are in the United States: The United States Army Research Institute of Infectious Disease (USAMRID) in Reston, Virginia, and the Center for Disease Control (CDC), in Atlanta, Georgia.
Ebola Zaire if great at what it does, to well. It kills so quickly that the index case, the first person to start an outbreak is usually dead before the proper authorities can show up and try to back track where it came from, defying a decent strategy to keep people away from its natural reservoir. However, it destroys the body so quickly that it doesn’t have a chance to spread very far, at least in humans. This virus is a true paradox. Ebola Zaire is a nasty little virus with no known cure.
The natural reservoir for the virus is still unknown. If the host could be found, a serum could be made of the antibodies in its blood. It must have a stable host, one in which it has reached equilibrium with. Collection of animal specimens is currently underway to determine the source. The possible species in tropical Africa are so numerous that a long and lucky search is likely to be required. The virus itself can be decimated by Ultra Violet light, gamma rays, irradiation, lipid solvents, detergents, and common disinfectants.
Moving quickly, thanks to modern technology and with no known hosts, this virus could one day, become a world wide problem. Given that filoviruses with increased potential for rapid evolution, because of the high error rate of ribonucleic acid polymerases that they use to replicate their genomes could easily become a problem. With major airports and fast planes the virus could incubate in a body and spread all over the world very easily.