Several new Influenza-like viruses discovered

I've always maintained that the Orthomyxoviridae, the extented family that consists of several related virues, such as the Influenza viruses, might be much larger than expected. During the past year or so several new viruses have come to light. The most recent discoveries were the Bourbon Virus and the Wellfleet Bay Visrus, both in the USA.

So, what would happen if you really search for viruses in possible hosts, such as ticks, mosquitoes, flies, spiders or lice? You would be amazed at the sheer number of different viruses that live happily in those animals.
Researchers in China did just that and discovered that, among these viruses, were several unknown variants of the Quaranjavirus, a group of viruses that is part of the Orthomyxoviridae[1]. Until that moment in time the Quaranjavirus consisted of Johnston Atoll Virus, Quaranfil Virus, Lake Chad Virus, Tyulek Virus and Wellfleet Bay Virus.

The researchers needed to be creative to name these thirteen novel viruses: Jinshan Fly Virus 1 (in true flies), Jiujie Fly Virus (in horse flies), Sanxia Water Strider Virus 3 (in water striders), Shangao Insect Virus 4 (in several insects), Wuhan Louse Flu Virus 3 (several insects), Wuhan Louse Fly Virus 4 (in several insects), Wuhan Mosquito Virus 3 (in mosquitoes), Wuhan Mosquito Virus 4 (in mosquitoes), Wuhan Mosquito Virus 5 (in mosquitoes), Wuhan Mosquito Virus 6 (in mosquitoes), Wuhan Mosquito Virus 7 (in mosquitoes), Wuhan Mothfly Virus (in several insects) and the Wuchang Cockroach Virus 2 (in cockroaches).

The closed relative of all these viruses – except one – is the Johnston Atoll Virus. The only exception is the Wuchang Cockroach Virus 2 and that one is related to the Influenza C Virus. That is all pretty worrysome.

[1] Ci-Xiu Li et all: Unprecedented genomic diversity of RNA viruses in arthropods reveals the ancestry of negative-sense RNA-viruses in eLIFE – 2015. See here (pdf).

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