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New Threat in Sight? Indian Medics Warn of Another Virus Outbreak in China

CC0 / / Virus particles
Virus particles - Sputnik International
Since first being reported in China’s Wuhan city in late 2019, the coronavirus, or COVID-19, has spread around the world, causing the deaths of over a million people. The number of fatalities in India stands at 96,318 as of Tuesday, while the overall caseload is 6,145,292.

India’s apex biomedical research body – the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) – has expressed concern about another virus outbreak in China - the Cat Que Virus (CQV) in mosquitoes and pigs - triggering concerns of a global impact. The presence of CQV was detected in so-called Culex mosquitoes in China and pigs in Vietnam, which, as per the study, points to a possible susceptibility of Asian countries to the virus.

A study by ICMR, published in the scientific journal the Indian Journal of Medical Research reveals that CQV can cause febrile illnesses, meningitis, and paediatric encephalitis in humans.

“Anti-CQV IgG antibody positivity in human serum samples tested and the replication capability of CQV in mosquitoes indicated a possible disease causing potential of CQV in Indian scenario. Screening of more human and swine serum samples using these assays is required as a proactive measure for understanding the prevalence of this neglected tropical virus”, says the study.

Scientists at the National Institute of Virology, Pune under the ICMR, found antibodies for the virus in two out of the 883 human serum samples tested from across the country. It indicated that these two persons had at some point contracted the virus.

“All human serum samples (n=1020) screened for the presence of CQV using real-time RT-PCR were found to be negative. Anti-CQV IgG antibody positivity was recorded in two of 883 human serum samples tested. Virus susceptibility experiments indicated that three species of mosquito, namely Aedes aegypti, Culex quinquefasciatus and Cx. tritaeniorhynchus supported multiplication of CQV by intrathoracic as well as artificial membrane/oral feeding routes”, reads the abstract of the study.

According to the ICMR, Indian mosquitoes are susceptible to CQV, which could also become a public health concern.

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