New Langya virus detected in China: How deadly is it?

Key points
  • Langya henipavirus (LayV) is the new virus outbreak in China
  • So far, it has infected 35 people in 2 states in the country
  • Study claims that the virus has not been fatal or very serious.

While the threat of COVID-19 and Monkeypox is lingering upon us, a new animal-derived virus has been identified in China. The Henipavirus, commonly known as the ‘Langya’ henipavirus (LayV), has infected 35 people in China’s Henan and Shandong regions.

Langya virus was discovered in throat samples taken from febrile patients in the aforementioned provinces. The virus belongs to a family of viruses that can kill up to three-quarters of humans in extreme cases. However, none of the new cases have been deadly, and the majority are minor, with patients experiencing flu-like symptoms.

There is currently no vaccination or therapy for Langya virus, and the main option is supportive care to address zoonotic disease complications.

What is known about the virus?

The Langya virus was discovered in humans for the first time in 2019, with the most recent cases being recorded this year. Chinese researchers are still attempting to determine whether the virus is contagious.

According to studies conducted by the Beijing Institute of Microbiology and Epidemiology, no cases of the Langya virus infection were identified between January 2020 and July 2020 during the first year of the pandemic. However, the study indicated that from July 2020 onward, there were more than 11 cases of Langya.

Common symptoms

After following the virus’s symptoms in the patients, researchers discovered that fever was the most common.  It was followed by cough (50%), fatigue (54%), loss of appetite (50%), muscle aches (46%), and the tendency to vomit (38%).

The virus was also found in 71 of 262 shrews (a small mole-like mammal) in the Chinese provinces of Henan and Shandong, as well as 5% of dogs and 2% of goats.

How deadly is it?

Langya is related to the deadly Nipah virus, which is normally seen in bats. Nipah, like Covid-19, spreads through respiratory droplets but is significantly more lethal, killing up to three-quarters of individuals. The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified Nipah as the most likely virus to cause the next pandemic.


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