• Mariana Alvim
  • BBC Brazil correspondent, Sao Paulo

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Research suggests that shrews may be an animal host for the virus.

An international team of scientists has announced the discovery of a new virus from the Henipavirus family, which is known to cause outbreaks of extremely deadly infections in humans.

Between 2018 and 2021, the research team said, the “Langia hnipa virus” (Live, commonly known as “Langia virus”) infected at least 35 people in China.

In a letter published August 4 in the New England Journal of Medicine, the scientists wrote that there was no indication that the “Langia virus” could be transmitted through human-to-human contact. They also suggested that the source of the infection might be from an animal – the team found evidence that shrews may be the natural reservoir of the virus, but more research is needed to confirm this.

Of the 35 cases identified in China, 26 were carefully studied. The study revealed that all patients had fever and some cases were accompanied by symptoms such as fatigue (54%), cough (50%), headache (35%) and vomiting (35%). Scientists also found some abnormalities in liver function (35% of patients) and kidney function (8%). But there is no information on any deaths yet.