JUST a few years after Covid was first detected and took hold of the world, scientists have raised the alarm over another entirely new virus.
So far, none of the patients who are infected with the new Langya virus have died, and none have been seriously ill or died.
What is the new virus?
“Langya” virus is part of the henipavirus family, of which two species have been identified before – the Hendra virus and Nipah virus.
These produce often severe and fatal illnesses in people – and there are currently no vaccines or treatments.
Henipavirus is classified as biosafety Level 4 with case fatality rates between 40 and 75 per cent, according to the data from World Health Organization (WHO).
Where was it discovered?
The virus was first detected two north-eastern provinces in China: Shandong and Henan.
The discovery was first highlighted in a letter written by researchers from China, Singapore and Australia and published in the New England Journal of Medicine this month.
What are the symptoms?
Of the 35 people identified as having contracted the virus, nine were asymptomatic.
How does the virus spread?
“Langya” virus is a zoonotic virus, a disease which can spread from animals to humans.
Researchers have detected the virus predominantly in shrews.
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They believe that everyone who has contracted the virus are thought to have caught it from animals.
There is no evidence so far that Langya can be passed on between humans.