TL; DR – A new virus called the Langya virus has been detected in Shandong and Henan provinces in China.
35 individuals infected to date
A new virus called the Langya virus has been detected in Shandong and Henan provinces in China. Humans could be infected with the virus from animals. Currently, there has been no evidence of human-to-human transmission. The virus was found to infect mostly farmers, who had frequent contact with animals.
The Langya virus
The Langya virus belongs to a family of viruses called Henipavirus. It is dubbed LayV for short, just like how the virus that causes Covid-19 is called SARS-CoV-2. The virus is considered entirely novel – which means that it has not been observed to infect humans before.
Hailing from a dangerous Henipavirus family
The Langya virus belonged to the same family of viruses as the Hendra and Nipah viruses – both causes severe and fatal illnesses, with no vaccines or treatments.
Symptoms of Langya virus infection include fever, irritability, cough, anorexia, myalgia, nausea, headache and vomiting.
Currently, none of the recorded cases were fatal or serious. Scientists note that there is no need for panic, for now. Work is still ongoing to test if human-to-human transmission is possible, as the current sample size is too small to determine if LayV can be transmitted from human to human.
The carriers: Shrews
The virus was found to be most prevalent in shrews: out of 262 shrews surveyed in the two regions in China where the infections were detected, 71 of them tested positive for the virus.
Other animals were tested, and 5 per cent of dogs and 2 per cent of goats tested positive for the LayV virus.
From Covid-19 to Monkeypox, why are scientists uncovering more and more viruses? Scientists point out that in the aftermath of Covid-19, more tracking systems are now in place which enables novel pathogens to be detected and studied before things go horribly wrong.