Vocabulary: to mutate (v), form (n), contagious (adj), blood sample (n), cure (v+n), vaccine (n), symptoms (n), to pass on (phrasal verb), to track (v), spread (n+v).
Scientists who are studying the Ebola virus have said that it is mutating: the virus is changing its form. They are investigating whether the virus is more contagious than last year.
Blood samples are being sent to France in order to study this.
Ebola is a virus that is similar to HIV and Influenza (the flu): these types of viruses mutate rapidly; any cure or vaccine we have will not work on the new mutation.
The fear is that Ebola has mutated so that some people who have the virus don’t show symptoms; they don’t look or feel ill at all. However, they are still contagious and pass the virus on to other people. Because they don’t show symptoms, it is more difficult to track the development and spread of the virus.
Currently the survival rate of Ebola is 40%. The research in France will hopefully give scientists a clear reason as to why some people survive the virus and others don’t. They also hope to develop a vaccine against it.