New virus identified in China, what we know so far

Palù: “Langya? Reassure the non-human-human transmission”

“We know little about the Langya virus,” the new virus identified in China, “which also belongs to a long-known, highly lethal family. We know that it has its source in a rodent, a spider mouse. The data is reassuring” as far as concerns transmission “is that this virus, identified in a Chinese patient, does not appear to have the ability to spread from human to human and appears to have a relatively low pathogenicity”. So at Adnkronos Salute Giorgio Palù, emeritus professor of virology at the University of Padua and president of the Italian drug agency.

“Langya is a henipavirus, belongs to a genus already known since the end of the twentieth century, and is part of the paramyxovirus family, which includes other viruses that we know as the parainfluenza virus, the respiratory syncytial virus”, explains Palù, underlining that the World Health Organization looks with suspicion at this pathogen due to its kinship “with highly lethal viruses”.

Described in a study conducted by scientists from China and Singapore and published in the ‘Nejm’, this infection – a zoonosis – causes symptoms such as fever, fatigue, cough and can also impair liver and kidney function. There is currently no vaccine or treatment for henipavirus, the only therapy is the management of complications.