A new virus has emerged in China and infected around 35 people, sparking concern that a new pandemic could be on the way. Scientists say that it’s too soon to determine whether the viral outbreak will be deadly and whether it can spread easily between humans.
The Langya henipavirus, known as LayV, has been documented by scientists spreading among animals in some parts of China, most notably among shrews. A new report in The New England Journal of Medicine published on August 4 also reveals how patients in two Chinese provinces have also become infected.
What the Report Says
According to the report, titled “A Zoonotic Henipavirus in Febrile Patients in China,” patients infected with LayV exhibit flu-like symptoms, which include muscle soreness, fatigue, loss of appetite, persistent cough, and fever. Patients also report experiencing nausea.
Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control confirmed that patients have so far been identified in the Shandong and Henan provinces of China.
Out of the 35 patients infected with the virus, 26 were infected with no other pathogens. The researchers also noted how a fraction of patients experienced impaired liver and kidney function.
“These 26 patients presented with fever (100% of the patients), fatigue (54%), cough (50%), anorexia (50%), myalgia (46%), nausea (38%), headache (35%), and vomiting (35%), accompanied by abnormalities of thrombocytopenia (35%), leukopenia (54%), and impaired liver (35%) and kidney (8%) function,” the paper reads.
Does It Spread Between Humans?
When a virus can easily spread between humans, it can easily become a pandemic. However, scientists are unclear about whether the LayV virus can spread between humans as all patients have a recent history of animal exposure in eastern China.
According to the report, the genome of the LayV virus is comprised of 18,402 nucleotides and has the same genome organizations as other henipaviruses within the Paramyxoviridae family. These viruses are known to infect humans and even cause death, but they are typically found in bat, shrew, and rodent populations.
There has been no documented transmission of the virus between humans, and all those who are currently infected with the virus have been isolated. Contact tracing of 9 patients is also underway, with friends and family members reportedly testing negative for the virus.
While zoonotic virus spillover is not new and has happened many times throughout history, the destruction caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has scientists on high alert.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.
August 12, 2022 at 10:21 am
Masks do NOTHING to prevent a virus. Nothing.
Wash your hands, sneeze into your elbow or a tissue, take care of the vulnerable, and don’t lick strangers. You’ll be pretty safe that way.
August 24, 2022 at 12:01 pm
yeah, doctor do not need to wear mask to operate on you too
September 10, 2022 at 4:16 am
Masks greatly limit the risk of getting caught. Why do surgeons put it on, in your opinion? I take it you also think that vaccines are useless, and polio returning to New York is a conspiracy? As a Frenchman, I can only be desperate to see a country that was at the forefront of science in the 20th century return to obscurantism.
September 10, 2022 at 1:39 pm
Omega 13 is an idiot, and so is the editor who approved this racist article title.
March 10, 2023 at 6:06 pm
Sadly for Omega 13, there is a century’s worth of scientific data that prove masks do work. You think surgeons wear them just out of vanity?
Indeed, the title is unnecessarily racist – viruses don’t have nationalities or any political affiliations. The so-called “Spanish flu” from 100+ years ago actually began its spread from the USA, France and Germany. Not Spain.