China is currently dealing with an outbreak of a new virus, three years after COVID-19 first appeared within its borders as reported by Fortune.
In a paper recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Chinese researchers reported that the unique virus, known as Langya henipavirus (LayV), has afflicted hundreds of farmers in eastern China who have complained of fevers, exhaustion, coughing, nausea, headaches, and vomiting. According to the study, none of the LayV patients has passed away thus far. The remaining nine patients tested positive for additional bacteria that may have contributed to the sickness, according to the researchers, whereas 26 of the 35 patients had solely LayV infection.
Natural reservoir for the virus
Small mammals like shrews are thought to have developed the virus before it was transmitted to humans, according to the researchers. Shrews are a “natural reservoir,” according to the researchers, for LayV. In the greatest percentage of the 25 small wild species the researchers examined, the virus’ genetic material was discovered in 27% of the area’s wild shrews.
More crucially, the researchers noted that there is currently no proof that the virus is spreading among people.
The absence of close relationships or a shared history of exposure among the patients, they said, “suggests that the infection in the human population may be random.” The sample number of patients, however, is too small, according to the researchers, to entirely eliminate the transmission from person to person.
According to the researchers, LayV is a member of the family of henipaviruses, which include the Hendra and Nipah viruses, and which can “cause deadly sickness in people.” The Mojiang henipavirus, which was identified and connected to the 2012 deaths of three miners in southern China, is closely related to LayV, according to the researchers.
At least some governments are on notice as a result of the outbreak. The Centers for Illness Control in Taiwan issued an order on Sunday directing domestic labs to start sequencing the virus genome and to increase disease surveillance.
Some researchers issued a warning, stating that it’s doubtful that LayV would replace COVID-19.
The disease does not seem to transmit quickly between people, according to Francois Balloux, director of the Genetics Institute at University College London, who remarked on Twitter, “At this time, LayV doesn’t look like a repeat of COVID-19 at all. But it serves as one another warning of the imminent danger posed by the numerous viruses present in communities of wild and domestic animals that may infect people.”
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