Published On: Wed, Aug 10th, 2022

New Langya virus that may have spilled over from animals infects dozens

An international team of scientists said the Langya virus, a new type of henipavirus, may have infected shrews before being transmitted to humans. (Erhard Nerger/Getty Images/ImageBroker RF)

An international team of scientists identified a new virus that was likely to have been transmitted to humans after it first infected animals, in another potential zoonotic spillover less than three years into the coronavirus pandemic.

A peer-reviewed study published in the New England Journal of Medicine detailed the discovery of the Langya virus after it was observed in 35 patient samples collected in two eastern Chinese provinces. The researchers — based in China, Singapore and Australia — did not find evidence that the virus transmitted between people, citing in part the small sample size available. But they hypothesized that shrews, small mammals that subsist on insects, could have hosted the virus before it infected humans.

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