Marburgviruses: An Update

Caterina M. Miraglia, DC, MLS(ASCP)


Lab Med. 2019;50(1):16-28. 

In This Article


A significant body of research has been accrued during the past 2 years in various fields of study regarding marburgviruses. Ecological studies of the host reservoir have offered enhanced comprehension of how the virus is maintained in nature and the potential mechanisms by which humans may be exposed. The results of seroprevalence studies demonstrated that asymptomatic patients possess antibodies to marburgviruses.

A better understanding of the clinical course and pathology of marburgvirus infections will allow for improvement in patient care and outcomes. Advances have been made in the area of laboratory diagnostics, allowing for greater sensitivity, specificity, turnaround time, and ease of use in the field. Therapeutic compounds and vaccines have been evaluated that have different mechanisms of action and composition, many of which show significant promise to specifically treat and prevent marburgviral infection. Based on the literature, more studies are needed on specific mechanisms of exposure to the host reservoir that cause infection in humans and mechanisms of asymptomatic infection and host survival. FDA approval of a point-of-care test would allow for easier and more rapid diagnosis at the site of an outbreak; more clinical trials must be conducted for treatment and vaccines to earn FDA approval. Although much information and knowledge has been gained during the past 2 years of research, a great deal of work still must be done before the next big outbreak occurs.