The world may still be learning to live with the highly contagious coronavirus, but another potentially fatal virus, Langya, has started rearing its head.

China has become the first country to report an outbreak of the Langya virus, which is believed to have been transferred from shrews to humans. The virus has infected 35 people in eastern China's Henan and Shandong provinces. However, there have been no deaths or serious illnesses so far.

Langya belongs to the henipavirus family of viruses that are known to kill up to three-quarters of infected humans. The Nipah and Hendra viruses also belong to the same group.

The World Health Organization classifies the viral family as biosafety level 4, which implies that it has a high risk of aerosol transmission and of causing a life-threatening disease.

The virus is a zoonotic virus, which basically means that it can be transmitted from animals to humans. Its symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, muscle aches and pains, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The study is based on the analysis of the 35 people who recently tested positive for the virus in China. The virus has also been linked with impaired liver and reduced kidney function, per a report in The Mirror.

These viruses can also cause respiratory infections and can prove fatal. However, scientists claim that more research needs to be done to find out more about its symptoms.

Researchers are also trying to investigate if the virus can be transmitted from human-to-human. The worrying part is the fact that there are no vaccines available for the virus yet. However, Edward Holmes, an evolutionary virologist at the University of Sydney in Australia, says that "there is no particular need to worry about this, but ongoing surveillance is critical."

The virus was first detected in humans in 2018, and Taiwanese authorities have taken it upon themselves to monitor the virus and its origin. They have decided to establish a nucleic acid testing method to identify the virus and monitor its spread, per local media reports.

Henipavirus. Image/CSIRO, CC BY 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons