Publication - VHFC Investigators describe hypotheses of 'Emerging Diagnostics' in Science

In a recent paper in the magazine Science, VHFC researchers Pardis Sabeti and colleagues argue that many of the diseases labeled as 'emerging infectious diseases' are actually more an issue of 'emerging diagnostics'.

Hemorrhagic fevers such as Lassa and Ebola are recognizable because of the severe symptoms they cause. Despite this, the first cases of these diseases weren't described until the 60's and 70's, but several lines of evidence suggest that they have been around for much longer than that. Genetic evidence in humans as well as sequencing studies of the viruses themselves suggest that the causal agents might be thousands if not millions of years old. The fact that we only started diagnosing them until quite recently, might be because of an increase in diagnostic capabilities, and not because the diseases themselves are new.

Continuing research based on these hypotheses, Sabeti and colleagues hope to be able to better study and monitor this class of viruses and hereby help develop better treatments and improve patient care.

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