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Virologist: 'Possibility' Ebola Virus Mutates to Become Airborne, 'Occurs More Readily'

Virologist: 'Possibility' Ebola Virus Mutates to Become Airborne, 'Occurs More Readily'

On Tuesday’s “Hannity,” Dr. David Sanders, a Purdue University virologist and expert on the Ebola virus, elaborated on a claim he made earlier in the week, which he argued of the possibilities the current strain Ebola inflicting its wrath on West Africa and in a handful of cases in the United States and Western Europe could mutate and become a threat to be transmitted through the air.

Partial transcript as follows:

HANNITY: [E]bola virologist Dr. David Sanders is with us. Doctor, let me start with you because you’re here with us. You have been studying this virus since 2003?

SANDERS: That’s right.

HANNITY: Very impressive. You work at Purdue.

SANDERS: That’s correct.

HANNITY: OK. And you have said and it’s — a lot of people were taken back by your comments, and it made a lot of press, that while the virus thus far has been shown to be transferred via bodily fluids, you’re arguing that this virus, in fact, could very well become airborne. Why do you say that?

SANDERS: That’s correct. So we actually have the data that show that Ebola enters into lung tissue from the airway side. This was done with human lung tissue. And it enters by the exactly same side of the cell as influenza enters cells. So it clearly has that inherent capacity to get into the lungs from the airway.

HANNITY: We were first told that the only way somebody could get this is through direct contact with bodily fluids. They were trying to reassure people that were on the plane with Thomas Duncan. Then they backtracked and then they said three feet. Now you’re telling us they may be wrong on all accounts.

SANDERS: I don’t have any direct evidence that that is what is occurring now. That’s — I mean, that’s an important message. We don’t know that. But we do know…

HANNITY: Yes.

SANDERS: We do know that it can happen in terms of the biology. That’s important. And it could become — you know, through mutations, there’s a possibility for it to change in such a way that that occurs more readily.

Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor

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