University of São Paulo: Langya, new virus, worries medical community in China

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A new virus discovered in China has been worrying medical and health authorities around the world. So far, 35 people have been infected in two Chinese provinces, both in the east of the country, between 2018 and 2021. Infectologist Max Igor Banks, coordinator of the Outpatient Clinic for Infectious and Parasitic Diseases at the Hospital das Clínicas, Faculty of Medicine, USP, says that the symptoms of langya are the same as those of other diseases linked to the airways, such as covid: fever, fatigue, cough and muscle pain.


Max Igor Banks – Photo: Reproduction/FM-USP
The infectologist warns that this is the third virus of its kind that affects humans. Scientists have revealed in a recent study the identification of this new virus, which belongs to the henipaviru s family. Two other viruses have already been discovered in this zoonotic RNA virus category, which also includes hendra (HeV) and nipah (NiV ) viruses. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), both cause acute respiratory infections and severe encephalitis.

Shrew
There is still no vaccine or treatment for the langya virus, which was detected through samples taken from the throats of those infected. The way in which people were infected is still unknown, but everything indicates that it could have been through a known rodent, the shrew.

The virus was also detected in 2% of domestic goats and 5% of dogs analyzed. Scientists reiterate that langya is predominantly of animal origin, and that it rarely infects humans, so the study is important to have the diagnosis.

Igor Banks also points out that the environmental disorder, with the entry of man into the forest and remote places, is increasingly bringing new viruses to cities, but reassures the population by stating that there is no risk of concern about a future epidemic or pandemic, at least for a while.

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