Researchers at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) have discovered another virus from China with the potential to cause disease in India.
The virus, known as 'Cat Que Virus' (CQV), is found in pigs and culex mosquitoes and has been largely reported in China and Vietnam and infected several people in the countries.
Scientists at the ICMR have found that the virus may cause diseases such as meningitis, febrile illnesses, and paediatric encephalitis in India too.
The ICMR data further revealed that Indian mosquitoes, notably, aegypti, Cx. Quinquefasciatus, and Cx. Tritaeniorhynchus, are vulnerable to CQV which is one of the arthropod-borne viruses or arboviruses.
The study's findings have been published in the latest issue of the Indian Journal of Medical Research (INMR) recently.
Researchers at the National Institute of Virology (NIV), ICMR, Pune have found antibodies for the (CQV) virus in two out of 883 human serum samples that have been tested across states.
The testing of such samples further stated that these two people had contracted the (CQV) infection at some point in time.
These (two) samples from Karnataka turned out to be positive for the presence of anti-CQV IgG antibodies in 2014 and 2017 respectively.
Nevertheless, the virus was not found in any of the human or animal samples at the time of testing as antibodies show up within a few days after an infection kicks in a human body.
The body comes up with immune responses upon a virus infection, one of them being proteins called antibodies that stick or bind to the virus.
ICMR researchers also said that the availability of vector, primary mammalia host (swine) and conformation of CQV from jungle myna bird shows the potential of this orthobunyavirus as a public health pathogen in India.
"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," ICMR said.