Five West African Ebola researchers died from the virus before they ever saw their work in print.

The Harvard University-led study,published Thursday in Science magazine, found that the virus has mutated over the course of the 2014 outbreak, which has killed more than 1,500 people since its March onset.

The work emphasized that the rapid variations could make vaccine and treatment development difficult — a point further underscored by the Ebola deaths of its authors.

The five deceased researchers were among 50 co-authors who wrote the study, Science reported. While the Harvard team backed the research, it was supported by authors on the ground in Africa.

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