Back in 2018, a new virus was detected in animals that were believed to be capable of spreading to humans. Although it did not cause any deaths, its impacts were considered to be long-term. However, in August 2022, scientists officially detected this virus as the Langya virus and termed it a dangerous one. Even though it is not as serious as Covid-19, it can spiral over hand, if not controlled promptly.
Scientifically known as the Langya Henipavirus or LayV, this virus originated in eastern China in 2018. However, it was limited to a small population. Now, in the provinces of Shandong and Henan, more than 35 people have been detected to carry this virus.
Henipaviruses are of five types that have been discovered so far, and they are considered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as, “highly virulent emerging pathogens that cause outbreaks in humans and are associated with high case-fatality ratio”. A bit further insight into the henipaviruses’ nature has revealed that they are RNA viruses that occasionally cause illness in humans. They can spread in humans through animals like pigs or bats”.
Being a zoonotic virus, like Covid-19, the Langya virus has the potential to become contagious with time. However, at the moment, it has not caused any symptoms of fatalities like Covid-19. Since the virus transmission is in its early stage, it can be controlled through various measures similar to Covid-19 measures.
Detection of LayV
Anyone believed to have been infected with the virus, especially the people residing in the infected areas and nearby towns, can be tested through a throat swab sample test. This virus can be detected through metagenomic analysis and subsequent virus isolation methods to confirm its presence.
One of the main sources or carriers of LayV is shrews. These small mammals have been tested through samples, and almost 27% of them carried the virus in them. This shows that shrews can be the natural carriers of this virus.
Symptoms of LayV
The physical symptoms of LayV are similar to those of Covid-19. However, the degree and intensity of each symptom may vary according to a person’s immunity system. Some of the common symptoms of LayV can be:
- Myalgia (muscle stiffness and pain)
- Migraines/ headaches
- Nausea/ vomiting
In severe cases, however, these symptoms can be experienced which are not much common but experienced by almost one-third of the cases:
- Loss of appetite
- Instant weight loss and weakness
- Impaired liver functioning
- Impaired kidney functioning
Is Langya virus contagious?
Although it does spread from one organism to another and is transmissive, however, whether it can be highly contagious like Covid-91 is still not confirmed yet. This is due to the novelty of the virus which makes it difficult to fully grasp its nature and mutation patterns.
Till now, animal-to-human samples have been found however, human-to-human contact detection has not been found yet. This makes it too early to be identified as highly contagious.
One thing that might help people in avoiding to catch this virus is that zoonotic viruses like LayV come from animal-to-human contact. That is why they can be contained to a smaller area by not coming in contact with the animals carrying them. Viruses tend to adapt and mutate to varying conditions. Thus, if they are frequently coming in contact with a large human population, they may become highly contagious and start to spread in a human-to-human way as well.
The world has yet to recover from the economic, social, mental, and physical losses of the Covid-19 pandemic. In these times, the emergence of the Langya virus can become a huge challenge for humanity and its survival. Thus, we as a global community must take measures to ensure the elimination of such diseases with proper healthcare and timely treatments.