Scientists have found a group of women who appear to be immune from the deadly Ebola virus.
The team studied 60 women, including 25 from Guéckédou in Guinea where the current outbreak is thought to have started. One woman studied was found to have antibodies in her blood, despite never having the virus.
“These are phenomenal women who have had a horrendous story to tell,” Professor Miles Carroll, a virologist at the UK government's chemical and biological weapons research facility, told The Guardian.
“They have had lots of contact with the virus, clearing up vomit, diarrhoea, sleeping with children with Ebola overnight, and they never presented with Ebola symptoms and somehow they have an immune response to the virus.”
Ebola is highly-contagious, and can be caught through exposure to bodily fluids once symptoms have appeared.
Nobody is yet sure how those women become immune. But further study could show what is happening in the body to allow them to be — and so provide extra information about what happens after people have recovered from the disease.