Ebola Outbreak in West Africa; Is Selenium Involved?

  • Nouran Abd-ElMoemen
  • Ahmed Menshawy
  • Ahmed Negida
  • Marwa Alaa El-Din
  • Ahmed Kamel
  • Alaa Ehab Farouk


One of the current international public health emergencies is the outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD), requiring extraordinary response. The current outbreak in West Africa is the most dangerous since Ebola was first discovered on 26 August 1976. Till January 6th 2015, It resulted in 13,387 laboratory confirmed human cases and 8274 deaths. Ebola virus has 5 strains, 4 are pathogenic in humans while the 5th strain Ebola reston strain is not. The current outbreak is caused by Ebola most pathogenic strain, Ebola Zaire strain whose genome differs from that of Reston Ebola virus strain, by the existence of several open reading frames containing large numbers of UGA codons. These codons act as stop codons and in addition they may encode for Selenocysteine, the 21st aminoacid, which is essential for the formation of Selenoproteins. Selenoproteins are integral to the metabolism and have been linked to the progression of certain viral diseases. In this review, we discuss the relation between Selenium and the progression of the current EVD in Africa supported by geographical distribution of Se and genetic evidence.


Selenium Selenoproteins Selenocysteine Ebola EVD Zaire EBOV Outbreak SeC Immunity 



This paper was not funded by anyone or any institution.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors of this paper declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nouran Abd-ElMoemen
    • 1
  • Ahmed Menshawy
    • 2
  • Ahmed Negida
    • 3
  • Marwa Alaa El-Din
    • 4
  • Ahmed Kamel
    • 1
  • Alaa Ehab Farouk
    • 1
  1. 1.Kasr AlAiny Medical SchoolCairoEgypt
  2. 2.Faculty of MedicineAl-Azhar UniversityCairoEgypt
  3. 3.Faculty of MedicineZagazig UniversityZagazigEgypt
  4. 4.Department of Biotechnology, Faculty of ScienceCairo UniversityGizaEgypt

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