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Cat que virus: ICMR warns of another virus from China that couldtrigger disease in India

Scientists at the National Institute of Virology in Pune have found the presence of antibodies for the cat que virus (CQV) in two out of 883 human serum samples collected across India

September 28, 2020 / 08:52 PM IST

At a time when India is still grappling with the novel coronavirus pandemic that started in China’s Wuhan, scientists have warned of another virus from China that has the potential to spread diseases in India.

Scientists at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) have found that the ‘cat que virus’ (CQV), which has infected several in China, may cause diseases such as febrile illnesses, meningitis, and paediatric encephalitis in India too, reported Livemint.

The CQV is an arthropod-borne viruses or arboviruses. China and Vietnam have reported the presence of CQV inside culex mosquitoes and pigs.

According to the ICMR study, data has revealed that Indian mosquitoes, namely, aegypti, Cx. Quinquefasciatus, and Cx. Tritaeniorhynchus, are susceptible to the CQV. Swines are the primary mammalian host of the CQV.

Scientists at the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune have found the presence of the antibodies for the CQV in two out of 883 human serum samples that were collected across India. This means that those two people had contracted the infection at some point in time; this has raised fear of the CQV spread in the country.

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The two samples where CQV anti-bodies were found were from Karnataka; one was from 2014, the other from 2017.

However, the virus was not found in the samples – both humans and animals.

ICMR said: “Anti-CQV IgG antibody positivity in human serum samples tested and the replication capability of CQV in mosquitoes indicated a possible disease-causing potential of CQV in Indian scenario. Screening of more human and swine serum samples using these assays is required as a proactive measure for understanding the prevalence of this neglected tropical virus.”

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