China’s new wolf tooth virus that infects dozens is not the next COVID, scientists say

Three years after COVID-19 first emerged within its borders, China is battling an outbreak of a new virus.

Chinese scientists wrote in an article that the new virus, known as wolf tooth virus (LayV), has sickened dozens of farmers in eastern China who complained of fever, fatigue, coughing nausea, headaches and vomiting. recently published research In the New England Journal of Medicine. According to the study, no LayV patient has died so far. Twenty-six of the 35 patients were infected with LayV alone, while the other nine tested positive for other pathogens that could cause the disease, the scientists said.

Scientists believe the virus likely emerged in shrews, small mammals, and then passed it on to humans. Shrews are LayV’s “natural reservoir,” scientists say. Scientists found genetic material for the virus in 27 percent of wild shrews tested in the area, the highest rate among 25 small wild animals the scientists surveyed.

Importantly, scientists say there is no evidence so far that the virus is spreading from person to person.

“There was no history of close or shared contact between patients, suggesting that infection in the population may have been sporadic,” they wrote. But the scientists said the patient sample size was too small to completely rule out human-to-human transmission.

Scientists say LayV is part of a family of henepaviruses, which consists of Hendra and Nipah viruses that cause “deadly disease in humans”. Scientists say LayV appears to be closely related to Mojiang Henipa virus, a virus discovered in southern China in 2012 and linked to the deaths of three miners.

The outbreak has put at least some governments on alert. On Sunday, Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ordered domestic laboratories to begin sequencing the virus’s genome and intensify disease surveillance.

Some scientists have warned that LayV is unlikely to be the next COVID-19.

“At this stage, LayV doesn’t look like a repeat of COVID-19 at all,” said Francois Balloux, director of the Institute of Genetics at UCL. wrote on twitter, saying the disease appears to be easily spread from person to person. “But it is yet another reminder of the looming threat posed by many pathogens circulating in wild and domestic animal populations that have the potential to infect humans.”

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