Published: 10th August 2022
#WhatTheFAQ: All about the Langya virus that has affected 35 people in China
Symptoms discovered by the researchers are fever, fatigue, cough, loss of appetite, muscle aches and a tendency to vomit
The world is still combating COVID-19 and is suffering from its adverse impact on life, health, education, employment and so on. And now it seems like it is the time to welcome a new virus, namely Langya virus, detected in China.
Well, now that we are all very much aware of COVID-19, it is time to learn about this new Langya virus. What is this new virus? How many are infected with Langya? How deadly is it? What are its symptoms? We got you all covered with #WhatTheFAQ.
What is the Langya virus?
The Langya virus is the new animal-to-animal transmitted virus. It is a novel Henipavirus (LayV) also called the Langya virus and has infected 35 people in Eastern China. As per the announcement by Taiwan Center for Disease Control (TCDC), the virus was detected in China's Henan and Shandong provinces. Further, to identify and monitor the spread of the virus, authorities have decided to initiate nucleic acid testing methods.
When was it detected first?
Few reports say that the virus was initially detected in humans in late 2018 or in 2019. Later, researchers from the Beijing Institute of Microbiology and Epidemiology said there were no Langya virus infections during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic from January to July 2020. But, from then onwards, 11 Langya virus cases were found. And now, 35 people, mostly farmers or factory workers, were found infected with this virus.
How did the virus transmit?
As Taiwan's health authority is still monitoring the situation, it is said that the virus is transmitted from animals to humans. The researchers tested wild animals and found LayV viral RNA in more than a quarter of 262 shrews, “a finding that suggests that the shrew may be a natural reservoir”. Additionally, it was also detected in 2% of domestic goats and 5% of dogs.
What are the symptoms?
4. Loss of appetite
5. Muscle aches
6. Tendency to vomit
What are the findings of researchers?
- The scientists, researchers and concerned officials are still trying to figure out if this virus is communicable or not. The researchers said that the sample size to determine the status of human-to-human transmission was too small.
- LayV was the cause of febrile illness. Febrile illness is when a patient has a fever of 38°C or has a history of fever that persisted for two to seven days.
- LayV genome henipavirus is a category of zoonotic RNA viruses (zoonotic RNA are viruses originating from wildlife and resulting in pandemics). This category includes the Hendra virus and Nipah virus. While Hendra originating from Australia affects horses and humans, Nipahh caused disease outbreaks in South-East Asia.
- LayV is also closely related to the Mojiang virus which was also discovered in southern China.
- Infectious disease experts have warned that in events called, "zoonotic spillovers", the climate crisis and the destruction of nature will increase the risk of viruses being transmitted from animals to humans.
Is this a cause to worry?
Prof Wang Linfa of the Duke-NUS Medical School told The Guardian in a report that the LayV cases had “not been fatal or very serious” so far and that there was “no need for panic”.
The Taipei Times reported that the spread of the virus from animals to humans can cause renal and liver failure. As the virus hails from the family of viruses that are known to affect human beings in large numbers, it is advisable for the locals to take precautionary measures in preventing the spread.
Moreover, as of now, there is no vaccine or treatment available.