Understand the risks of the new virus identified in China – 08/12/2022 – World

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Scientists from China, Australia and Singapore announced the discovery of a new virus capable of infecting humans.

The pathogen Langya henipavirus (or LayV as it has been called by the medical community) has been identified in eastern China and can cause fever, nausea, cough, lack of appetite and fatigue. From 2018 to 2021, 35 people were reportedly infected in Henan and Shandong provinces.

A preliminary genetic analysis appears to link the pathogen with two known viruses – Hendra and Nipah – that have never been identified in the West, but are known for their high mortality rate. The information was published by the researchers in a letter in the New England Journal of Medicine.

  • Genomic analysis also showed that LayV is most closely related to the Mojiang henipavirus, first isolated from mice in an abandoned mine in southern China’s Yunnan province in 2012;

  • It remains unclear whether the virus was transmitted to humans by an intermediate animal;

  • Host screening indicates possible transmission from shrews, a small mammal that resembles a mouse and does not exist in Brazil. Viable strains of the virus were also found in smaller percentages in dogs and goats.

There is still no evidence of human-to-human transmission and all those infected appear to have caught the disease while working in the field.

why it matters: The headlines about the virus around the world were quite alarmist, but scientists assure that, At least for now, there’s nothing to worry about..

To the magazine Nature, for example, the Australian virologist Edward Holmes demanded vigilance, but pointed out that “new pathogens are identified every year”. According to him, it is our greater attention to the topic, especially after Covid, that makes such news more frequently in the newspapers.

Furthermore, although LayV’s “ancestors” are especially dangerous and with no treatment available, only 35 people have been infected since 2018 and there are no reported deaths, which suggests that the transmissibility of the virus is still low and limited to those who have direct contact with animals. .

what also matters

A city in Shandong province has announced “a major contest” to test for Covid, banning citizens from photographing or filming the “competition”.

Linyi, in eastern China, said the “game” would be attended by all state officials in the city. In addition, a neighborhood would be randomly selected and then classified as a medium risk area for the disease (which requires mass testing). Photo and video recordings were banned to “avoid adverse social impacts.”

The initiative, which did not disclose the award, was heavily criticized both online and by state media.

  • The state-run Economic Daily News wrote that the decision “turns the original policy of preventing and controlling serious epidemics into child’s play”, accusing city officials of undermining the credibility of the national government.

The city has not officially expressed itself on the subject, but mentions of the contest were removed from the internet.

Hong Kong has announced that it will cut the mandatory hotel quarantine time in half for those coming from abroad.

Of the seven days initially required, travelers must be isolated for only three. The remaining four will be classified as “medical home surveillance”, which will allow limited movement. Anyone who presents negative results after daily home tests for Covid will be able to take public transport, work and enter closed establishments.

Local authorities will also adopt for the first time the health code system that allows tracing close contacts of positive cases and identifying people at potential risk for the disease, similar to mainland China.

The move is seen as another attempt by the city to regain the post of East Asia’s economic hub, a title being lost to Singapore after the pandemic.

keep an eye

Still making use of last week’s trip to Taiwan, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told a TV show that Xi Jinping was behaving like “a scared bully”. She accused the Chinese leader of working to isolate Taiwan and conjectured about domestic difficulties.

“I think he is in a fragile situation and he has problems with his economy,” he said. She also defended the decision to have visited the disputed island, mentioning that “the president of China does not dictate our agenda.”

why it matters: Both sides of this dispute will continue to capitalize on Nancy Pelosi’s visit.

  • On the American side, the Democrat wants to reinforce the image of China’s opposition and certainly hopes to reap the rewards of media coverage in the midterm elections in the second half of the year;

  • For Beijing, Pelosi works well as the personification of a domestically sold “anti-China” policy and helps stir nationalist masses in the country;

  • In Taipei, one can expect military exercises and calls for shipments of Western war equipment under the pretext of defending themselves against the Chinese.

We’ll still hear about the House Speaker’s quick stint in Taiwan for a few months.

to go deep

  • The congress that is expected to grant Xi Jinping a third term is scheduled to take place in November. For those who want to get ahead and understand how the event works, the South China Morning Post has prepared an excellent guide on the subject. (porous paywall, in English)
  • WW, a CNN Brasil program, had a group of experts to analyze the risks associated with a possible dispute over Taiwan. It’s worth checking out the conversation available here. (free, in Portuguese)
  • The Chinese Bridge Club and Ibrachina offer various activities between the 13th and 17th of August to celebrate Chinese Immigration Day in Brazil. In addition to lectures and mini-courses on Chinese medicine and cuisine, there will be several activities in person in São Paulo. Subscriptions here. (porous paywall, in English)

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