What is known about Langia hanniba, a new virus identified in China

What is known about Langia hanniba, a new virus identified in China

The 35 cases have been detected and analyzed over the years, But it has only now been described in the scientific journal The New England Journal of Medicine. Of these, 26 cases were analyzed in detail – revealing that 100% of patients had fever and, in some cases, other symptoms such as fatigue (54%), cough (50%), headache (35%), and vomiting (35) . %).%). There were also some abnormalities in the functioning of the liver (35% of patients) and kidneys (8%). There is no information on any deaths.

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According to the researchers, there are no signs of LayV transmission in personal contact. The source of the infection is likely to be animal – scientists say there is evidence that shrews are a natural reservoir of the Lanjia River, but this still needs to be confirmed by further studies. Specialists confirm that the detection of the new virus is taking place It is far from an indication of a new pandemic.

But the discovery of a virus of the genus Henipavirus is worrisome because other pathogens of this group have already caused outbreaks of infection and serious infections in Asia and Oceania, particularly the “cousins” of the fibrous type known as Hendra henipavirus (HeV) and Nipah henipavirus (NiV). Hendra (HeV) infection is rare, but the mortality rate is 57%.According to the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC). In the Nipah Haniba virus (NiV) outbreaks reported between 1998 and 2018, the fatality rate ranged from 40 to 70% of infections. Both cause respiratory and nervous system problems.

It is difficult to compare this data with deaths from the coronavirus that causes the current epidemic, because of differing methodologies and differences in numbers by country and period. However, it can be argued that Hendra and Nipah viral lethality has been much higher in the outbreaks that have occurred than in the current epidemic of MERS-CoV.

Virologist Jansen de Araujo, professor and researcher at the University of São Paulo Emerging Virus Research Laboratory (USP), highlights that currently, The discovery of the Langia virus is far from a harbinger of a pandemic.

“What was observed does not characterize a hot spot (something like a ‘spot of transmission’) as was the case with the coronavirus — the virus was found and soon started spreading across the region very quickly, says Araujo, noting that the researchers who identified Langea hnipa virus cases over a long period of time.

“Also, the new virus has not shown effective person-to-person transmission very quickly. But as a pathogenic virus (that causes disease), it is essential to watch and monitor new cases.”

Araujo, a microbiologist from the University of the South Pacific, also points out that the high mortality rate of the Hendra and Nipah viruses may be a barrier to their transmissibility.

“Virgins that are very deadly, like Ebola, have little spread, because they end up killing people faster than they transmit,” he explains. “When you have a virus that causes a greater risk, the chance of it spreading is reversed.”

The researcher says the presence of the virus has never been confirmed in Brazil

Araujo is part of the project National Wildlife Virus Surveillance Network (PRIVER) He has been looking for signs of the HNIPA virus in Brazilian soil for several years. In 2017, he and his colleagues published a paper containing evidence that bats in Brazil may be natural reservoirs of Nipah, but this cannot be confirmed with the evidence collected. According to the researcher, no cases of Hendra or Nipah infection in humans have been confirmed in Brazil.

In the New England Journal of Medicine that detected Langia hnipa virus, all of the infected patients were residents of Shandong and Henan provinces. They had no close contact with each other and no history of passing through the same places. The researchers tracked contacts between nine patients and their relatives and did not find any infection that could prove the transmission of infection from one person to another.

More than half of those infected were farmers, which is relevant given that the virus reached people through some form of contact with animals.

Researchers looked for molecular traces of Langia in domestic and wild animals, and shrews showed the highest rate of virus detection. Therefore, the researchers say that it may be the natural reservoir of the pathogen, although they realize that in the study they did not fulfill the so-called Koch’s assumptions, in which a causal relationship between the pathogen and disease was established.

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For Jansen de Araujo, it would be desirable to analyze samples of giant bats in particular for Langia, since these are known reservoirs for Hendra and Nipah viruses – the researcher explains that the animals were considered “Natural Reservoirs” They are infected with a virus but not infected with a disease. On the other hand, definitive hosts become infected and become ill, as is the case with horses and humans in Hendra infection.

Among the wild and domestic animals analyzed, it was the shrew that revealed the highest prevalence of the virus – Image: GETTY IMAGES/BBC

Reported cases of Nipah have occurred through direct contact with people infected with infected bats and pigs; with the sap or juice of a date palm infected with bat droppings; Or even through personal contact.

Veterinarian Michele Lonardi, PhD in animal virology at Londrina State University (UEL), and colleagues published in 2021 an article reviewing studies on Hennep viruses. According to the authors, “HCV and nickel are highly lethal viruses, with frequent re-emergences and the absence of any prevention or treatments approved for use in humans.” In particular, NiV has “the potential to cause a devastating pandemic,” the article says.

In an interview with BBC News Brazil, Lonardi points out that the scientists who identified the Langia hanniba virus did so through routine monitoring of fever cases in China – a measure she cited as key to preventing the spread of this and other viral diseases.

The vet explains: “Fever patients appear to receive treatment in selected hospitals in China, and when they report previous contact with animals, samples are collected for metagenomic analysis. These are powerful tools for identifying pathogens.”

“This kind of active surveillance with new (genetic) sequencing tools is very important, given these potentially zoonotic infectious agents – that is, transmitted from animals to humans. They become new epidemiological agents in the future.”

– This text was originally published at https://www.bbc.com/portuguese/geral-62487568

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