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New Ebola-related virus detected in fruit bats

Doctors newspaper online, 11.01.2019


SINGAPORE. A new virus from the Filoviridae family (filoviruses) has been discovered by Chinese researchers in fruit bats from Rousettus (Nat Microbiol 2019, online January 7). It is known that filoviruses, including the Ebola and Marburg viruses, cause severe and often fatal hemorrhagic fever in humans.

Also called the "Mengla virus" (MLAV) virus, is the result of Dr. med. According to Xing-Lou Yang and his colleagues from the Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore, they are able to infect various human cell lines and cell lines of monkeys, dogs and hamsters. It uses the same receptor as the Ebola and Marburg viruses to infect a cell.

The Chinese researchers warn that there is a risk of transferring the MLAV from one species to another.

The virus in its genetic sequence only appears on 32 to 54 percent of the previously known filoviruses. The researchers therefore consider MLAV as the first representative of a new genus within the filoviruses and suggest the name "Dianloviren" as the name for this genus ("Dian" as an abbreviation for the Chinese province in which the fruit bats were discovered). According to Yang and his team, the Dianloviruses can contain other previously unknown viruses.

However, it is unclear how widespread the MLAV actually is, because so far only in Chinese fruit bats has been found. (BAE)

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