This past week researchers in China have discovered a new virus: the Menglá virus. This new genus of filovirus (snake like, RNA encoded virus) infects hosts using the same receptors as both Ebola and Marburg, two oftentimes-deadly viruses. Menglá is known to be carried by fruit bats and there is yet to be any evidence of human infection, but evidence shows that there is a “broad cell tropism” which could give the virus the ability to be easily transmitted across species.
This could mean two distinct things for the human population in the area. Primarily, the existence of yet another (possibly) interspecies filovirus means that an outbreak of a new virus (which the scientific community does not know how to address) could serve as a threat to public health. Secondarily, it means that if there are people in the area who have already been infected or who have been able to develop antibodies against the virus, researchers could use that information or those antibody sequences to take steps towards creating solutions to combat filoviruses in a more general sense. Could this discovery be predicting the next zoonotic disease outbreak or could it be the next step in stopping them?
For more information: