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Langya henipavirus found in China

In China’s Shandong and Henan provinces, 35 persons are thought to have contracted a novel virus called Langya henipavirus. Langya henipavirus shares a connection with viruses that harm people, the Hendra and Nipah viruses. It is not yet known much about the new virus, also known as LayV, particularly whether it spreads from person to person. The novel Langya henipavirus was initially discovered by Chinese researchers who were doing routine surveillance on individuals with fevers who had recently reported interaction with animals. After identifying the virus, the researchers searched for it in additional persons.

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Langya henipavirus: Key Points

  • Although it is not known how long the patients were ill, the symptoms of Langya henipavirus reported—fever, exhaustion, coughing, loss of appetite, muscle aches, nausea, and headache—appeared to be generally minor.
  • A smaller percentage of patients suffered potentially more serious problems, such as pneumonia and changes in the function of the liver and kidneys.
  • However, there was no information on the severity of these anomalies, the need for hospitalisation, or whether any cases were fatal.

Langya henipavirus: Origin of the Virus

  • The authors also looked into the possibility that the Langya henipavirus originated in domestic or wild animals.
  • There was more concrete proof that a sizable part of wild shrews were harbouring the virus, even though they only discovered a tiny number of goats and dogs that may have previously been infected with the Langya henipavirus.
  • This shows that wild shrews may have transmitted the Langya henipavirus to humans.
  • To discover this new virus, the researchers turned to a cutting-edge method known as metagenomic analysis.
  • Researchers sequence every genetic component before discarding the “known” sequences (such as human DNA) in order to seek for “unknown” sequences that could be a new virus.

Virus Related to Langya henipavirus

The Nipah virus and the Hendra virus, two additional viruses that are relevant in humans, appear to be distant relatives of this new Langya henipavirus. The fictional MEV-1 virus in the Contagion movie was modelled around this group of viruses. The hendra virus was originally identified in Queensland in 1994, where it claimed the lives of trainer Vic Rail and 14 horses. Globally, the Nipah virus is more prominent, and Bangladesh is typically the site of outbreaks. Infections can range in intensity from extremely mild to deadly encephalitis (inflammation of the brain).

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