Previously unknown Mengla virus similar to deadly Ebola virus discovered in China

A group of scientists from China and Singapore published in the journal Nature Microbiology the results of a study of a previously unknown genus of filoviruses found in local bats in southern China.

According to the researchers, it is very similar to the infamous Ebola and Marburg viruses, which cause deadly infectious diseases such as Ebola and Marburg hemorrhagic fever. So far, there is no danger to people, but scientists do not exclude the possibility of interspecific transmission.

The filovirus family is represented by three genera - Cuevavirus, Ebolavirus and Marburgvirus, which, according to the classification of the World Health Organization (WHO), belong to the 4th risk group of pathogens that are fatal to humans.

Bats, in particular fruit bats, are the main carriers of dangerous viruses without getting infected from them. Contact and infection of people occurs, as a rule, when visiting caves or mines where bats live.

The new virus was discovered in southern China in Yunnan province, Mengla County, after which it was named. In the course of the study, it turned out that it is genetically similar to the already known filoviruses by about 30-50%. Mengla enters cells using molecular receptors characteristic of other pathogenic filoviruses.