London, June 4 (IANS) A team of British scientists has finished sequencing the genome of the Ebola virus and made the data set freely available online to the global scientific community, the University of Cambridge has announced.
The team is using semi-conductor next-generation sequencing technology developed by a US company to generate data in a laboratory, according to the press release issued by the university on Wednesday.
The data set will allow the global scientific community to monitor the pathogen’s evolution in real-time and conduct research that can lead to more effective strategies against further outbreaks, Xinhua news agency reported.
“Sequencing the genome of a virus can tell us a lot about how it spreads and changes as it passes from person to person,” said Paul Kellam, professor at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, who is leading the team mapping the genomic data of Ebola.
The data was captured by Ian Goodfellow and his colleagues from the University of Cambridge.
Rapid sequencing enables epidemiologists to decipher the source of individual strains, and helps eliminate the need to rely upon Ebola patients to tell them how and where they contracted the virus, as different strains can be tracked as they are transmitted from person to person.
Since the first reported case in March 2014, the Ebola outbreak has claimed over 10,000 lives in West African countries.