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“Langya”, what a new virus you don’t have to wonder

KATERYNA KON/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY via Getty Images Image showing the structure or composition of a influenza virus. On and find, in particular, the surface glycoproteins: hemagglutinin (in rouge) and neuraminidase (in purple)

KATERYNA KON/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY via Getty Images

The “Langya” is a new virus identified in China by Taiwanese researchers.

HEALTH – After the coronavirus, it is now the Langya virus that worries the Chinese authorities, reports the daily Taipei Times what the Tuesday, August 9. What new pathogen comes to be discovered in China through Taiwanese science, as the two countries are embroiled in heated diplomatic tensions.

Le nouveau Langya henipavirus (LayV) was first detected in the northeastern provinces of Shandong and Henan in late 2018, but was not formally identified by scientists until last week, reports the British daily. the Guardian. Only 35 cases have been recorded since 2018 and all have been detected in China.

The shrews would be the reservoir of the virus

The first information about the virus was published in New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) a few days ago. Because what we know for now is that the virus would probably be a zoonosis, ie a virus transmitted from animals to humans. Early tests on wild animals indicate that the shrew could be the host animal. But the virus was also detected in goats (at 2%) and dogs (at 5%).

Infectiologists have long warned that pressure on natural environments, such as deforestation or the intensification of agriculture, increases the risk of virus transmission from animals to humans. Today, 75% of emerging human infectious diseases are zoonotic, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

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D’ailleurs, even the origin of Covid-19 has not been established with certainty, the zoonose track is privileged because SARS-CoV-2 is very close to a virus detected in mice.

Comparable step with the coronavirus

Disease transmitted by an animal et découverte en Chine, la comparaison avec le coronavirus est vite established, but these two viruses are not comparable. On the contrary, they have Covid, they are langya “it doesn’t spread quickly chez les humains”, explain Professor François Balloux from the UCL Institute of Genetics on Twitter. “If there is no human-to-human transmission, it is difficult to imagine a real epidemic because not everyone is exposed to shrews”pursue him.

Virologist Yannick Simonin recalls, his, dance The Parisian that every year the virus appeared without the force that causes pandemics: « Those of us have been going for a few years and we are in an emergency situation, as was the case with SARS-CoV-2. Il n y a pas d’inquietude particulars à ce stade, mais la necessitate d’études complémentaires ».

No pandemic on the horizon but the authors of the report New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) important estimate of conducting new studies to “ better understand human disease » at the origin of the dozens of cases identified.

A deadly virus that spreads between human beings

In humans, the Langya causes symptoms such as fever, fatigue, cough, loss of appetite and muscle stiffness. It belongs to the henipavirus family, which includes the Nipah and Hendra viruses, which are very lethal. According to the WHO, Nipah, which caused epidemics in Southeast Asia in the early 2000s, has a mortality rate estimated between 40 and 75%. Which is much higher than that of Covid-19. For example, in France the lethality rate of Covid was 0.5% on April 26, 2022 according to the agency statistically. At the moment, no vaccine exists to counter the effects of Langya.

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Even if with such a high mortality rate the virus can be worrying (no death due to Langya has however been made public), the situation is not yet alarming. Again, the disease progresses slowly and only 35 cases were censused between April 2018 and August 2021. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Taiwan announced that virus surveillance measures will be put in place in the following. weeks.

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