In a newly published study, researchers have discovered a new virus in blood samples that is thought to be a hybrid between hepatitis C and the human pegivirus. So far, researchers claim there is no need to be concerned about this newly discovered organism, though very little is known about it at this moment.
The study participants claim that the virus is fairly common. To discover this new virus, the team sampled blood banked at the National Institutes of Health from 46 volunteers between 1974 and 1980. All of the participants received transfusions as a result of hemophilia, and this appears to be the cause of transmission. Of the 46 participants, two patients had “cleared” the virus and that it didn’t appear to have caused any lasting damage.
Following this initial test, researchers then looked at samples from 106 people in another study – and discovered the virus in two more people. Though, in this case, one appeared to have been infected for as long as five years before eventually “clearing” the virus.
Through this exploration, researchers are beginning to realize that the evolutionary chain of these viruses may be much longer than initially expected. When asked about why they released the report at this time, Dr. Ian Lipkin, infectious disease expert and study supervisor said:
“We have been able to find a new virus. It’s clearly transmitted as a result of human (blood) transfusion. It is the first transfusion-associated virus that’s been described in a long time. We don’t know if it is going to be a significant cause of human hepatitis. More than 30 million blood components are transfused annually in the United States alone. Surveillance for infectious agents in the blood supply is key to ensuring the safety of this critical resource for medicine and public health.”
With that in mind, Fenvir urges readers to take any and all precautions to make sure they stay healthy and free of foreign infections. Rashida Humbletin, a representative for the popular brand, said “Even though scientists don’t think this newly discovered pathogen is contagious, so little is known about it. With that in mind, it’s safe to assume that their judgment could easily be wrong. And, while situations where transfusions are necessary are often out of our control, its best to always be prepared for the worst by doing everything you can to maintain a healthy immune system.”