New Delhi: Seems like 2020 isn’t willing to catch a break! While we are already fighting coronavirus pandemic, scientists have warned of another virus from China that has the potential to spread diseases in India.Also Read - China Says WHO Gave Support For Covid Vaccine Emergency Use

It’s called the Cat Que virus (CQV), which has infected several in China and may cause diseases such as febrile illnesses, meningitis, and paediatric encephalitis in India too, reported Livemint.

The findings come after scientists at the National Institute of Virology (NIV), ICMR, Pune discovered antibodies for the virus in two out of the 883 human serum samples. Antibodies are formed by the immune system of humans when a virus attacks the body.

This means that these two people were infected with CQV at some point in time. However, the virus was not found in any of the human or animal samples at the time of the study.

Why should India be alert?

The Indian Council of Medical Research revealed the presence of ‘Cat Que virus’ (CQV) in a species of mosquitoes called Culex, and also in pigs in China and Vietnam.

Notably, India, too is home to species of culex mosquitoes.

“Due to the spread of similar species of the Culex mosquitoes in India, there is a need to understand the replication kinetics of this virus in mosquito models. Data showed that Indian mosquitoes (Ae. aegypti, Cx. quinquefasciatus and Cx. tritaeniorhynchus) were susceptible to CQV,” the ICMR study said.

So, this arthropod-borne virus (arboviruses) is usually carried by culex mosquitoes and pigs, and could cause fatal illness in humans 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,” the scientists said.