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Mol Aspects Med. 2008 Jun;29(3):151-85. Epub 2007 Oct 22.

Ebolavirus and Marburgvirus: insight the Filoviridae family.

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National Institute for Infectious Diseases IRCCS Lazzaro Spallanzani, Via Portuense 292, I-00149 Roma, Italy.


Ebolavirus and Marburgvirus (belonging to the Filoviridae family) emerged four decades ago and cause epidemics of haemorrhagic fever with high case-fatality rates. The genome of filoviruses encodes seven proteins. No significant homology is observed between filovirus proteins and any known macromolecule. Moreover, Marburgvirus and Ebolavirus show significant differences in protein homology. The natural maintenance cycle of filoviruses is unknown, the natural reservoir, the mode of transmission, the epidemic disease generation, and temporal dynamics are unclear. Lastly, Ebolavirus and Marburgvirus are considered as potential biological weapons. Vaccine appears the unique therapeutic frontier. Here, molecular and clinical aspects of filoviral haemorrhagic fevers are summarized.

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