Taiwan health authorities have announced the discovery of a new virus, after a study by scientists, reports Taipei Times Tuesday, August 9, 2022. The new pathogen, dubbed Langya-Henipavirus (LayV), has appeared in the Chinese provinces of Shandong and Henan, specifies The Independent .
The shrew as a natural reservoir
According to the first known information, this new virus seems close to Covid-19 since it is transmitted from animals to humans. A test carried out on 25 animal species reveals that the virus was mainly diagnosed in shrews. Small mammals could thus be a natural reservoir of LayV.
No human-to-human transmission has been reported at this time.
Taiwan Center for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director Chuang Jen-Hsiang said on Sunday August 7 that at least 35 people have already been infected with the new virus. No deaths have been recorded so far.
However, the situation does not seem alarming at this time since these 35 cases were recorded between April 2018 and August 2021, as Professor François Balloux of the UCL Genetics institute points out on Twitter.
No vaccine for viruses of this family
A study published in the New England journal of medicine, on August 4, reports that Langya-Henipavirus patients were affected by a high fever. Cough, exhaustion, loss of appetite, or even a decrease in white blood cells are also among the symptoms observed.
LayV is a member of the Henipavirus family, which includes two previously identified viruses: Hendra and Nipah. No vaccine exists today to counter their effects. In severe cases, the death rate can reach 75%, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).