Newly Discovered Virus In China
The novel Langya henipavirus, often known as LayV, is thought to have been transferred from shrews to humans. In China, there are presently over 30 confirmed instances.
A recently discovered virus has affected more than 30 individuals in China.
Fever, exhaustion, coughing, soreness, aches, muscle pains, nausea, headaches, and vomiting are some of the symptoms of Langya henipavirus or LayV.
Researchers think that animals, in this case, shrews, transmitted the virus to people.
None of the sick individuals have perished as of yet.
Additionally, experts have not discovered proof that the virus may spread between individuals.
Another example of a zoonotic illness, similar to the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 and many other infections that travel from animals to people, an international team of researchers has discovered a novel virus named LayV that may have been introduced to humans from shrews.
But none of the victims of the new virus passed away. Additionally, although acknowledging that their sample size was too small to be certain, experts claim there is no proof of viral transmission among humans.
Where was the virus found, exactly?
Between 2018 and 2021, following normal patient screening for possible zoonotic infections in three hospitals in eastern China, researchers discovered LayV.
A 53-year-old lady who had a fever, a headache, and other symptoms went to the hospital in December 2018 and were the first patient. Using a sample of the woman’s throat swab, scientists sequenced the virus’ genome.
35 more LayV-infected individuals were found during the study period. Of them, only 26 had the LayV infection (no other viruses). Every participant in the research had recently been exposed to animals.
From whence did the virus originate?
Researchers investigated samples from domestic goats, dogs, pigs, and cattle as well as 25 species of wild small animals in the communities of the affected individuals to identify the possible source of LayV.
Only a few dogs and goats (5% or less of the examined animals) were discovered to have LayV antibodies. They discovered LayV genetic material (RNA) “predominantly” in shrews (27% of the examined animals) among the wild animals.
The researchers stated that “[this discovery] implies that the shrew may be a natural reservoir of LayV.” It’s unclear, though, whether humans contracted the disease directly from the shrews or via an intermediary species.
Exist any viruses that infect humans that are closely related?
In addition to the measles, mumps, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) viruses, LayV is a member of the Paramyxoviridae family of viruses.
Two additional human-infecting henipaviruses, Hendra virus, and Nipah virus are more similar to LayV. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that they result in a severe sickness that resembles influenza and is frequently deadly.
Both of these viruses have fruit bats as their primary hosts, although they can also infect other mammals. People who come into touch with infected horses, their tissues, or bodily fluids may get the Hendra virus.
People may get the Nipah virus from sick pigs, bats, or by coming into contact with bat urine. Nipah virus, but not Hendra virus, has been found to spread from person to person.
But according to experts, Mojiang henipavirus, a rat-borne virus that was initially discovered in southern China in 2012 after three miners died from acute pneumonia, is most closely linked to LayV.
It was discovered by Lee and his colleagues that the Mojiang henipavirus penetrates cells in a manner that is different from that of the Hendra virus and the Nipah virus.
Symptoms of Langya Henipavirus
The most typical LayV symptom, which was seen in every patient, was fever. Other signs and symptoms were tiredness, coughing, soreness in the muscles, headache, nausea, and vomiting.
Additionally, some persons reported impaired liver or renal function, low blood platelet count, low white blood cell count, and impaired white blood cell count.
None of the research participants passed away from a condition brought on by a LayV infection.
Anthony P. Schmitt, Ph.D., a professor of molecular virology at The Pennsylvania State University in University Park, Pennsylvania, noted that less than 40 persons were affected despite the virus’s low risk of spreading. Therefore, they might not be typical of the entire population.
Does the virus transmit from person to person?
None of the 35 persons who have contracted LayV since 2018 appear to be connected, according to the study’s authors.
Additionally, they conducted contact trading with trusted sources of nine patients and their 15 close contacts, but they found no proof that infected individuals disseminated the virus to their contacts.
The number of infected individuals and close contacts was “too limited,” according to researchers, to assess if LayV might transmit from one person to another.
There does not seem to be any immediate cause for panic, according to Schmitt, because the 35 cases in this research happened across several years and there is no proof of person-to-person transmission.