All about the new Langya virus that has hit China
As the world slowly starts to recover from the brutal COVID-19 waves and attempts to understand monkeypox, a new virus has now hit China. According to Chinese media, the Langya henipavirus (LayV) has infected 35 patients in two provinces with mostly mild symptoms. It is an animal-derived virus and belongs to the same family as the deadly Nipah virus. Here's all about the development.
Why does this story matter?
The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed the lives of 64.2 lakh people globally since November 2019. While the virus's origins are yet to be pinpointed, it is believed by some scientists to have been caused by a "lab leak" in China's Wuhan province. A number of viruses have also been reported to originate from China, including the H5N1 (bird flu), SARS, and A(H7N9) (Avian Influenza).
What is the Langya virus?
The Langya virus has infected 35 people in the Henan and Shandong provinces of China, where it was found in throat samples collected from the patients. It hails from a family of viruses that is said to kill about "three-quarters" of humans in case of severe infections, Hindustan Times reported. The authorities have started using nucleic acid testing procedures to track the virus.
'Mild symptoms in patients so far'
The cases discovered in China so far are reportedly suffering from mild, flu-like symptoms. According to Chinese media, 26 patients are experiencing fever, cough, exhaustion, appetite loss, nausea, headaches, muscle discomfort, and vomiting. About 50% of the patients reported fatigue, cough, and loss of appetite. Some patients have also reported lower white blood cells, low platelet count, liver failure, and renal failure.
When was the virus first discovered?
A previous study by the Beijing Institute of Microbiology revealed that Langya was first found in humans in 2019. The researchers, however, said that no cases were found between January and July 2020. While 11 cases were reported since July 2020, the highest cases have been reported this year. Langya belongs to the family of the deadly Nipah virus, commonly found in bats.
Cases of the Langya virus in animals
Researchers in China have also found traces of the Langya virus in 71 of the 262 shrews tested in the Henan and Shandong provinces. According to the Mail Online, the Langya virus was also detected in dogs (5%) and goats (2%) in these areas. However, researchers are still trying to figure out if the virus can be transmitted between humans.