Getting a detailed picture of Ebola

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The Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT is now “the world’s most powerful factory for analyzing genes from people and viruses,” according to an article in the New York Times, published December 1, 2014. The article highlighted the work of Pardis Sabeti, a senior associate member at the Broad, associate professor in the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at Harvard School of Public Health, and associate professor, Center for Systems Biology, Harvard University Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology. She has been a leader in the effort to analyze Ebola’s genetic code and track its mutations.

Sabeti and her colleagues have found that the virus is continually mutating — and this is “always something we should be concerned about,” she told the Times. However, she added that it would probably take many major mutations for the virus to become airborne or more virulent. “But, again, any change is one change too many, and we should stop this thing as quickly as we can,” she said.