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Ebola virus can infect human reproductive organs: study

Press Trust of India  |  New York 

can infect reproductive organs of humans, according to a study conducted on macaques.

Prior studies of survivors of the 2014-2016 outbreak in have revealed sexual transmission of virus, and that viral RNA (genetic material) can persist in semen following recovery.

While little is known about viral persistence in female reproductive tissues, pregnant women with have a maternal death rate of more than 80 per cent and a foetal death rate of nearly 100 per cent.

Researchers from The and Infectious Diseases in the US infected four female and eight male macaques with the Makona variant of Ebola virus, the variant responsible for the recent outbreak.

All the macaques succumbed to and were euthanized six to nine days after

The scientists then took reproductive tissue samples from each and analysed the samples for signs of infection, organ and tissue damage, and immune responses.

They found widespread Ebola virus of reproductive organs with minimal tissue immune response or signs of


Based on the findings, published in of Pathology, the researchers hypothesised that Ebola virus can persist in these tissues in human survivors, and that the virus may reach seminal fluid in men by infecting immune cells called tissue macrophages.

However, it is unclear if the detection of Ebola virus RNA in semen documented in human studies means that infectious virus is present.

According to the scientists, additional research is needed to learn how Ebola virus persists in these sites, to determine if drugs and vaccines can cure or prevent such infections.

They also need to understand the mechanisms of sexual transmission, including why it appears to occur only rarely in humans.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, February 09 2018. 14:45 IST
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