A new type of animal-derived Henipavirus has so far infected people in Shandong and Henan provinces of China. Named Langya Henipavirus, the virus was found in throat swab samples from febrile patients in eastern China, state-run Global Times quoted media reports.
Here’s what we know about the virus so far:
Novel virus: A new viral outbreak in China has sounded alarm bells across the globe. China has reported 35 new cases of this viral infection. The virus is called Langya Henipavirus (LayV).
Confirmation: The Langya Henipavirus (LayV) was first reported in 2018 in Shandong and Henan provinces in the northeastern part of China. The virus was officially recognised last week. And now, China has reported an outbreak with dozens of new cases.
Where has it come from? The virus is believed to have jumped from shrews or some other animal to humans. Scientists found LayV’s genetic materials in over 200 shrews they tested. The virus has also been detected in about 2 per cent domestic goats and 5 per cent dogs.
A study, published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine, said the “new henipavirus is associated with a febrile (fever causing) human illness”.
How it infects: This virus has been found in the throat swab samples from infected persons in China. The early patients are mostly farmers.
Common symptoms: Fatigue, cough, loss of appetite and aches are the common symptoms. Some patients have shown signs of blood-cell abnormalities, and damage to liver and kidneys.
Is it fatal? As of now, no deaths have been reported due to the novel Langya virus. However, virologists categorise it as a biosafety level-4 virus, with a potential 40-75 per cent fatality rate.
Any vaccines? Since it is a new human virus, there is no vaccine for protection against the novel Langya virus as of now.