New cousin to deadly Ebola virus discovered in bats in China

mengla virus
Image credit: Rajesh Puttaswamaiah/Bat Conservation India Trust

The notorious filovirus family — which includes such dangerous actors as the Ebola and Marburg viruses — seems to just keep getting bigger.

In a new study, scientists from Singapore and China have announced they found a new branch of the family, in bats in China. While there is no evidence the new virus — called Měnglà after the place where it was discovered — has caused outbreaks in people, the virus has traits similar to those that have helped its cousin viruses break into human cells.

The revelation follows news last summer that a new member of the Ebola family, the Bombali virus, had been found in Sierra Leone.

“Studying the genetic diversity and geographic distribution of bat-borne filoviruses is very important for risk assessment and outbreak prevention as this type of infectious disease can affect the general public without warning with devastating consequences,” senior author Wang Lin-Fa said in a statement.

Related article:  Why efforts to contain Ebola through experimental vaccines could change Uganda's opposition to GMO crops

The new virus has the capacity to attach to the same cell receptors as Ebola and Marburg viruses do, the scientists reported. Work on cell lines derived from humans, monkeys, hamsters, and dogs suggests Měnglà would be able to infect them.

Overall, the scientists reported that, like Ebola and Marburg viruses, the new virus “poses a high risk of interspecies transmission.”

Read full, original post: New Ebola-like virus is discovered in China

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
can you boost your immune system to prevent coronavirus spread x

Video: How to boost your immune system to guard against COVID and other illnesses

Scientists have recently developed ways to measure your immune age. Fortunately, it turns out your immune age can go down ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
gmo corn field x

Do GMO Bt (insect-resistant) crops pose a threat to human health or the environment?

Bt is a bacterium found organically in the soil. It is extremely effective in repelling or killing target insects but ...
favicon

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend