New zoonotic virus found in China, 35 known cases of infection: Study

Published on Aug 10, 2022 03:08 PM IST

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine on August 4, said at least 35 cases of the virus have been recorded in eastern China’s Shandong province and central China’s Henan province

The new animal origin virus is in the same genus as the Nipah virus, and so far these cases have not been fatal or very serious. (Bloomberg File Photo/Representative image)
The new animal origin virus is in the same genus as the Nipah virus, and so far these cases have not been fatal or very serious. (Bloomberg File Photo/Representative image)

BEIJING: A new animal origin virus, which could infect humans, has been discovered in two provinces in China, scientists from China and Singapore have said in a new study.

The new study said that this newly discovered, possibly animal-derived Nipah virus, has been associated with some febrile cases – cases of fever where the cause is unknown -- with symptoms including fever, fatigue, cough, anorexia, myalgia, and nausea.

At least 35 such cases have been recorded in eastern China’s Shandong province and central China’s Henan province, said the study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NJEM) on August 4.

The authors have named it Langya henipavirus or LayV.

“During sentinel surveillance of febrile patients with a recent history of animal exposure in eastern China, a phylogenetically distinct henipavirus, named Langya henipavirus (LayV), was identified in a throat swab sample from one patient by means of metagenomic analysis and subsequent virus isolation,” the study said.

“Subsequent investigation identified 35 patients with acute LayV infection in the Shandong and Henan provinces of China, among whom 26 were infected with LayV only (no other pathogens were present),” the study said.

The paper was jointly written by several scientists including from the Beijing Institute of Microbiology and Epidemiology, Qingdao Municipal Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Duke–National University of Singapore Medical School and Institute for Infection and Immunity, Melbourne.

“This virus is in the same genus as the Nipah virus, and so far these cases have not been fatal or very serious. So, it’s fair to say that (we) should be vigilant, not panic, about this new virus,” Wang Linfa of the National University of Singapore School of Medicine, told the Chinese digital newspaper The Paper on Sunday.

“But we need to be careful because there are more similar viruses in nature, if a different virus jumps to humans, the situation may be different,” Wang said.

“In our study, a newly identified henipavirus of probable animal origin was associated with febrile illness, a finding that warrants further investigation to better understand associated human illness,” the authors said.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Sutirtho Patranobis has been in Beijing since 2012, as Hindustan Times’ China correspondent. He was previously posted in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where he covered the final phase of the civil war and its aftermath. Patranobis covered several beats including health and national politics in Delhi before being posted abroad.

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