Here we describe the complete genome of a new ebolavirus, Bombali virus (BOMV) detected in free-tailed bats in Sierra Leone (little free-tailed (Chaerephon pumilus) and Angolan free-tailed (Mops condylurus)). The bats were found roosting inside houses, indicating the potential for human transmission. We show that the viral glycoprotein can mediate entry into human cells. However, further studies are required to investigate whether exposure has actually occurred or if BOMV is pathogenic in humans.
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We thank the government of Sierra Leone for permission to conduct this work; the Sierra Leone district and community stakeholders for their support and for allowing us to perform sampling in their districts and communities; the Bombali Ministry of Health and Sanitation and Ministry of Agriculture district officers, field teams and regional lead including M. LeBreton, F. Jean Louis, K. Kargbo, L.A.M. Kenny, V. Lungay, W. Robert, E. Amara, D. Kargbo, V. Merewhether-Thompson, M. Kanu, E. Lavallie, A. Bangura, M. Turay, F.V. Bairoh, M. Sinnah and S. Yonda for performing sample collection; Yongai Saah Bona for administrative and logistic support; laboratory staff for assistance with processing the samples, including M. Coomber and O. Kanu (University of Makeni) and V. Ontiveros (UC Davis); T. O’Rourke, D. O’ Rourke (Metabiota) and D. Greig (UC Davis) for assistance with data entry, B. Lee for bioinformatics assistance and J. Morrison and A. Rasmussen for technical guidance (Columbia University); N. Randhawa for map graphics (UC Davis); and W. Karesh and J. Epstein (EcoHealth Alliance) for global input into study design. This study was made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Emerging Pandemic Threats PREDICT project (cooperative agreement number GHN-A-OO-09-00010-00) and by support from the National Institutes of Health (GM030518, S10OD012351, S10OD021764 and GM109018-05).
The authors declare no competing interests.
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Goldstein, T., Anthony, S.J., Gbakima, A. et al. The discovery of Bombali virus adds further support for bats as hosts of ebolaviruses. Nat Microbiol 3, 1084–1089 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41564-018-0227-2
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