New virus similar to Ebola found in China

Researchers discovered a previously unknown virus in bats in China, according to a study published in Nature Microbiology.

The new virus — called Měnglà — belongs to the filovirus family, which includes the Ebola and Marburg viruses.

Scientists from Singapore and China found genetic evidence of the virus in fruit bats in south-central China. Genetic analysis revealed Měnglà virus belongs in its own genus, as it is sufficiently different from the six known types of Ebola viruses and two known types of Marburg virus.

The scientists said the virus "poses a high risk of interspecies transmission," but noted there is no evidence the virus has caused outbreaks in humans.

"What it means for human health? I don't think anybody knows," Jeremy Farrar, PhD, head of the Welcome Trust, told STAT. "Somebody's just got to screen some populations around where it was found, human populations, to see how many people have got antibodies to it and how common human infection is."

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