Amidst a fresh steady increase in cases of Coronavirus pandemic globally and the new outbreak of monkeypox, a new type of animal-derived Henipavirus has been detected in China.
The new virus called Langya Henipavirus (LayV) has infected 35 people in eastern China’s Henan and Shandong provinces, according to official media reports.
According to a publication in the New England Journal of Medicine of 4 August, the new type of Henipavirus was identified in a throat swab sample from one patient using metagenomic analysis and subsequent virus isolation.
The subsequent investigation further identified 35 patients with acute LayV infection, among whom 26 were infected with LayV only.
After tracking the symptoms of the virus in the patients, researchers noted in the publication that all 26 patients presented with fever, closely followed by cough (50 per cent), fatigue (54 per cent), loss of appetite (50 per cent), muscle aches (46 per cent), and the tendency to vomit (38 per cent).
It further stated that among the 25 species of wild small animals surveyed, LayV RNA was predominantly detected in shrews, suggesting that the shrew may be a natural reservoir of LayV.
It added that while there was no close contact or common exposure history among the patients, the infection in the human population may be sporadic.
LayV is a type of henipavirus, a category of zoonotic viruses which can jump from animals to humans.
A study revealed that the Langya virus was first spotted in human beings in 2019.
Chinese experts are still trying to figure out if the virus can spread from one person to another, according to a report by Mail Online.
The U.S. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention said scientists estimate that three out of every four new or emerging infectious diseases in people come from animals.
The United Nations had previously warned the world will see more of such diseases with increased exploitation of wildlife and climate change.
Some zoonotic viruses can be potentially fatal to humans. These include the Nipah virus which has periodic outbreaks among animals and humans in Asia, and the Hendra virus which was first detected in horses in Australia.