Reston virus (family Filoviridae) is unique among the viruses of the Ebolavirus genus in that it is considered non-pathogenic in humans, in contrast to the other members which are highly virulent. The virus has however, been associated with several outbreaks of highly lethal hemorrhagic fever in non-human primates (NHPs), specifically cynomolgus monkeys (Macaca fascicularis) originating in the Philippines. In addition, Reston virus has been isolated from domestic pigs in the Philippines. To better understand virus spillover events and potential adaption to new hosts, the whole genome sequences of representative Reston virus isolates were obtained using a next generation sequencing (NGS) approach and comparative genomic analysis and virus fitness analyses were performed. Nine virus genome sequences were completed for novel and previously described isolates obtained from a variety of hosts including a human case, non-human primates and pigs. Results of phylogenetic analysis of the sequence differences are consistent with multiple independent introductions of RESTV from a still unknown natural reservoir into non-human primates and swine farming operations. No consistent virus genetic markers were found specific for viruses associated with primate or pig infections, but similar to what had been seen with some Ebola viruses detected in the large Western Africa outbreak in 2014-2016, a truncated version of VP30 was identified in a subgroup of Reston viruses obtained from an outbreak in pigs 2008-2009. Finally, the genetic comparison of two closely related viruses, one isolated from a human case and one from an NHP, showed amino acid differences in the viral polymerase and detectable differences were found in competitive growth assays on human and NHP cell lines.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
- General Agricultural and Biological Sciences