Ebola is a frightening, highly lethal virus — in the current outbreak in West Africa, about 60 percent of people infected with the pathogen have died. Although in the minority, some people do recover from infection.
Doctors don't know for certain who will survive Ebola, and there is no specific treatment or cure for the disease. But studies suggest there are some biological markers linked with a higher chance of surviving Ebola, experts say.
When a person becomes infected with Ebola, the virus depletes the body's immune cells, which defend against infection, said Derek Gatherer, a bioinformatics researcher at Lancaster University in the United Kingdom, who studies viral genetics and evolution. In particular, the Ebola virus depletes immune cells called CD4 and CD8 T lymphocytes, which are crucial to the function of the immune system, Gatherer said.