An international team of scientists has sequenced the RNA of 99 samples of the Ebola virus, collected during the outbreak's early days in Sierra Leone.
Samples were collected from 78 patients, with some giving twice so researchers could see how the virus mutates in a person. "The genome sequence of a virus is the blueprint on which that virus is built," Pardis Sabeti, a Harvard geneticist who helped oversee the study, told the Los Angeles Times. "Diagnostics are built on knowing that sequence; vaccines are also built using genome sequences. And if you want to build those as best you can, you want to know what the virus looks like today."
Scientists are taking a close look at the sequence, searching for clues that could lead them to effective vaccines or drugs. They've discovered that the Ebola virus that has killed more than 1,500 people originated in Guinea, with one transmission from an animal to a human. The sequencing started in early June, and by mid-June the results were available to scientists. "We want to enable everyone in the scientific community to look at the genetic sequences at once and crowd-source a solution," Sabeti said.
It's personal now for the researchers, as five of the study's co-authors in Sierra Leone have died of Ebola since participating in the research. "It's been an emotional time for us," said Stephen Gire, a research scientist and co-leader of the study. "It makes us want to work harder to get this information out there."
The findings were published Thursday in the journal Science. Catherine Garcia
Pittsburgh Steelers starting left tackle Alejandro Villanueva said Monday he's "embarrassed" when he sees photos showing him standing alone during the anthem before Sunday's game at Soldier Field.
"This national anthem ordeal has sort of been out of control, and there's a lot of blame on myself," Villanueva said. "I made Coach [Mike] Tomlin look bad, and that is my fault and my fault only. I made my teammates look bad, and that is my fault." Following President Trump's Friday comments — in which he called players taking a knee during the anthem to protest police brutality against blacks "sons of bitches" and said they should be fired — Tomlin said the Steelers would not take to the field during the anthem as a way to remain unified. "We're not going to let divisive times or divisive individuals affect our agenda," he added.
Villanueva, a West Point grad and Army Ranger who deployed to Afghanistan three times, said he had gone out to look at the flag before the game, and when the anthem started, he didn't want to move, and put his hand over his heart. "Unfortunately, I threw [my teammates] under the bus, unintentionally," he said. "Every single time I see that picture of me standing by myself, I feel embarrassed. We as a team tried to figure it out. Obviously, we butchered it…I'm not gonna pretend I have some kind of righteous voice."
Villanueva said he has no problems with players kneeling during the anthem, and many of the same players who take a knee have thanked him for his service, adding, "I will support all my teammates, and all my teammates and all my coaches have always supported me." Likely due to people thinking Villanueva was somehow protesting his team's decision not to come out on the field, his No. 78 jersey has been the top seller on NFLShop.com and Fanatics.com since yesterday, USA Today reports. Catherine Garcia
Late-night host and unlikely voice of the health-care debate Jimmy Kimmel was quick to tweet his support of Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine Monday evening, following her announcement that she won't vote for the the Graham-Cassidy health-care bill, the GOP's latest attempt to repeal ObamaCare.
"Thank you @SenatorCollins for putting people ahead of party," he tweeted. "We are all in your debt." Kimmel publicly entered the health-care debate earlier this year, after his son Billy was born with a heart condition and had to undergo emergency surgery when he was just three days old. Kimmel said he doesn't want anyone in the United States to worry about having to pay for life-saving care, and along with his wife, Molly McNearney, has tweeted his thanks to Republicans who have come out against the recent health-care bills — last week, after Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) announced he wouldn't vote for Graham-Cassidy, McNearney tweeted a photo of Billy in a robe with boxing gloves and thanked McCain for "fighting for kids like me." Catherine Garcia
Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine announced Monday evening she is opposed to both versions of the health-care bill sponsored by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) that aims to repeal ObamaCare.
In a statement, Collins said she has three major concerns about the proposal Graham and Cassidy authored last week and the newest version they came up with over the weekend: both make "sweeping changes and cuts in the Medicaid program," "open the door for states to weaken protections for people with pre-existing conditions," and "would lead to higher premiums and reduced coverage for tens of millions of Americans." Collins said there are "many flaws" with the Affordable Care Act that need to be fixed, and her "focus will remain on remedying these problems."
Her decision effectively kills the bill, as Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said last week he did not support it, and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said he's a "no," although he did make a list of demands that, if met, would change his mind. Catherine Garcia
The Senate Finance Committee was forced to briefly delay its hearing on the Republican health-care bill on Monday after police were called in to remove loud protesters, many of whom were representing the disability rights group ADAPT, The Hill reports. The demonstrators chanted "no cuts to Medicaid, save our liberty" and "kill the bill, don't kill me," and could still be heard in the hallways after they'd been removed from the room.
This is Colleen of ADAPT.
I have no idea what this country is supposed to be pic.twitter.com/de86rRuLiM
— Jeff Stein (@JStein_Vox) September 25, 2017
Growing frustrated with the noise, panel chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) snapped: "If you want a hearing, you better shut up."
On Monday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders reassured Americans that President Trump did not actually declare war on North Korea via tweet.
Sanders' statement ran contrary to claims made earlier in the day by North Korea's foreign minister, Ri Yong Ho. Ri claimed Pyongyang now has the right to shoot down U.S. bombers in international airspace after Trump said Saturday that North Korea "won't be around much longer" if it keeps intimidating America.
"We've not declared war on North Korea," Sanders said. "And frankly the suggestion of that is absurd."
She went on to add: "It is never appropriate for a country to shoot down another country's aircraft when it's over international waters. Our goal is still the same. We continue to seek the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. That's our focus." Watch below. Jeva Lange
North Korea said one of Trump's tweets was a declaration of war, but the White House says that's "absurd." pic.twitter.com/xjyljfhrHn
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) September 25, 2017
After famously dubbing President Trump a "bum" over the weekend, LeBron James doubled down on his comments at the Cleveland Cavaliers' media event on Monday. "The thing that kind of frustrated me and pissed me off a little bit is that [Trump] used the sports platform to try to divide us," James said in response to Trump's comments about NFL protests as well as his decision to disinvite the Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry from the White House. "It is so amazing what sports can do for everyone, no matter what shape or size or race or ethnicity or religion or whatever … It just brings people together like none other."
James added: "We're not going to let — I'm not going to let ... one individual, no matter the power, no matter the impact that he should have or she should have, ever use sport as a platform to divide us."
LeBron James: "The people run this country. Not one individual. And damn sure not him." pic.twitter.com/b82ojpXkZt
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) September 25, 2017
James also stressed that everyone should try every day to make a difference for others. "We know this is the greatest country in the world," James said. "It's the land of the free. But we still have problems just like everybody else, and when we have those problems we have to figure out how to come together and be as great as we can be as a people. Because the people run this country. Not one individual. And damn sure not him." Jeva Lange
The Supreme Court has removed President Trump's travel ban case from its schedule after the administration announced a new approach over the weekend. Sunday's presidential proclamation places indefinite travel restrictions on visitors from eight nations: Chad, Libya, Syria, Yemen, North Korea, Venezuela, Iran, and Somalia. Sudan was dropped from Trump's original travel bans, the latter of which expired Sunday, while Chad, North Korea, and Venezuela were added.
— Chris Geidner (@chrisgeidner) September 25, 2017
Oral arguments for the original ban had been scheduled to begin Oct. 10. The New York Times observed last week that the changes could "[complicate] the review by the justices and potentially [make] parts of the case moot even before" arguments began. Jeva Lange