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Hong Kong (CNN)New virus detected in dozens of people in eastern China warrants further surveillance, but Although it may not cause a pandemic, it does suggest how easily the virus can move from animals to humans without being noticed, according to scientists.
The virus, called Langya Henipa virus, infected nearly 30 farmers and other residents, a team of scientists believe. We believe the virus may have spread from shrews to people, either directly or indirectly . Mole-like mammal found in a wide variety of habitats.
No deaths from the pathogen have been reported, but scientists said it was detected in 35 unrelated fever patients in hospitals in Shandong and Henan provinces between 2018 and 2021. Animal viruses regularly circulate undetected to people around the world.
"We have grossly underestimated the number of zoonotic cases worldwide and this [Rangya virus] is just the tip of the iceberg," said an emerging virus expert. said Leo Poon, a professor at the University of Hong Kong. Kong's School of Public Health not involved in the latest research.
However, researchers say there is no evidence that the rangya virus is spreading among people or that it has caused localized outbreaks of related cases. Further research on a larger subset of patients is needed to rule out infection, they added. told CNN it was unlikely that the new virus would evolve into "another 'disease X' event." As an unknown pathogen that causes epidemics and pandemics, she says, "Such zoonotic spillovers show that events occur more frequently than we think or know." increase".
To reduce the risk of emerging viruses becoming health hazards, "it is imperative that active surveillance be carried out in a transparent and internationally cooperative manner," said Duke National. Wang, a university professor, said. Singapore Medical College.
Pursuit of new virus
The first clue to the existence of a new virus came when a 53-year-old farmer was treated at a hospital in Qingdao, Shandong province. Appeared. In December 2018, the city experienced symptoms such as fever, headache, cough and nausea, according to the researchers' documents.
Because the patient showed contact with animals within the past month, he in eastern China added an emphasis on identifying zoonotic diseases being carried out in three hospitals. was enrolled in the screening of
When examining the patient's test samples, scientists discovered something unexpected - a never-before-seen virus related to the Hendra and Nipah viruses. spread to humans.
Over the next 32 months, researchers from three hospitals screened similar patients for the virus, and eventually he detected the virus in 35. These patients had various symptoms such as cough, fatigue, headache and nausea. Fever.
Nine of these patients had also been infected with known viruses, such as influenza, so the cause of their symptoms was unknown, while the symptoms of the remaining 26 of his were due to Researchers believe it may have been caused by a new henipavirus.
According to Wang, some patients had severe symptoms such as pneumonia and abnormal thrombocytopenia, but these symptoms were far from those seen in Hendra and Nipah patients. . of the group died or were admitted to the ICU. All but four recovered, he added, but were not monitored for long-term problems. Some were reported in the same hospitals as the other cases, but many others were found in Sinyang, more than 700 kilometers (435 miles) away. Henan.
Similar viruses were known to circulate in animals from southwestern China to South Korea, so it was "unsurprising" that they spread to humans over such a long distance. he explained Mr Wang.
"There was no history of close contact or common exposure between patients," or other signs of person-to-person spread, Wang and his colleagues wrote in their findings. there is This suggests the cases were sporadic, but more research is needed, they said.
We learned that a new virus was infecting people Later, researchers, including Beijing-based scientists and Qingdao disease control officials, began work to see if they could reveal what was infecting patients. They examined the domesticated animals that the patients lived in for signs of past infection with the virus, and found a handful of goats and dogs that may have previously been infected with the virus.
But the real breakthrough came when they tested samples taken from small wild animals caught in traps. Finding 71 infections in two shrew species, scientists believe that these small rodent-like mammals circulate the virus naturally.
What is unclear is how the virus infects people, Wang said.
Further research screening of the Langya henipavirus will follow, he said, where the virus was found, and should be conducted more widely in China and abroad, not just in the two provinces.
China's National Health Commission did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether surveillance for new infections of the virus was underway.
China has seen major outbreaks of new viruses in the past two decades, including SARS in 2002-2003 and his Covid-19, both of which were the first to be detected in the country. and a virus thought to have originated in bats.
The devastating impact of both diseases, especially his Covid-19, which has killed more than 6.4 million people worldwide so far, will help us quickly identify new virus cases and reduce potential risks. It shows the importance of sharing information about
Scientists not involved in the new study agreed that more research is needed to understand the Langya virus and confirm the latest findings, and the findings suggest that He stressed the importance of tracking which viruses may be spreading from animals to humans, he said. It is important to share this information so that others can prepare in their own countries or do further research," said Poon of Hong Kong.87} Scientists are to what extent the new virus may have spread in nature, how it infects people and how dangerous it is to humans. , says it needs to answer important questions. Health - Including the potential for spreading among people if it continues to fly from animals to humans, and the potential for acquiring this ability.
, "suggests that this infection risk is fairly widespread," said Malik Peiris, a virologist also at the University of Hong Kong, who said studies elsewhere in China and in neighboring countries would be important. added. "To confirm the geographic extent of this virus in animals (shrews) and humans."
He also noted that the latest findings suggest undetected infections spreading from wildlife to humans. , suggesting that there are many, suggesting the need for systematic research to understand the full picture of human infections, not just this virus. Viruses from wildlife.
"This is important not to notice if the next pandemic will come, but when it will," he said.