Are some people naturally immune to Ebola?

Dr Bellen said: ‘Ultimately, knowing whether a large segment of the population in the afflicted regions are immune to Ebola could save lives.

‘If we can reliably identify who they are, they could become people who help with disease-control tasks, and that would prevent exposing others who aren’t immune.

‘We might not have to wait until we have a vaccine to use immune individuals to reduce the spread of disease.’

Led by Dr Bellan, the team, which also included Juliet Pulliam, an assistant professor at the University of Florida, looked at studies conducted in the aftermath of past outbreaks.