A new strain of the cosmic railway strain has been discovered, prompting health experts to warn of “serious health risks” if it becomes widespread.
Key points:The mysterious strain of railway strain was discovered in the early 2000sThe strain was linked to health problems including migraines and heart attacksResearchers from the University of Queensland and the Australian National University say the strain is “probably a new strain” that is “likely to cause health problems”The strain has caused “serious concern” in the past and has been linked to migrainings, heart attacks and other health problems, according to a new study.
It is the first time a new global strain of train-related disease has been found, which is believed to have originated in the late-1990s.
“The only known strain of this type of railway virus is the Chinese-Vietnamese strain,” lead researcher Professor John Vollmer from the Queensland Centre for Molecular Medicine told AAP on Tuesday.
“Our study is the only one of its kind that looks at the history of the Chinese strain and we think this new strain has likely been isolated.”
Researchers say the new strain could pose “serious concerns” if spread globally.
“If the strain becomes widespread, we would be concerned, particularly if this is in conjunction with other novel strains that are likely to be introduced over the coming years,” Dr Vollmers said.
“We would expect to see similar patterns of illness among passengers.”
The research was published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.
It was done in collaboration with Dr Voska Pekka, a professor at the University’s Department of Psychiatry, who also led the research.
“What we found was that this new form of railway-related strain is very similar to other strains of railway viruses, like the VHS1 or VHS2,” he said.
The researchers say the Chinese virus is similar to those found in China.
“They’re similar in structure to the other viruses, but they’re not as robust,” Dr Pekke said.
He said the new form was not associated with any serious health problems.
“It’s not something that people are really going to be concerned about,” he told AAP.
“There’s not any clear evidence that it’s a causal factor for some of the problems that are associated with other types of rail viruses.”‘
It’s a very strange case’Researchers say there is not enough information about how the new strains are formed, and there is no way to prevent it from being introduced.
“This is a very unusual case,” Dr Fung Chao, a virologist at the Queensland University of Technology, told AAP, referring to the recent case of a Chinese man who died of the strain.
“I don’t think we can say with certainty that it will cause any harm to people.”
He said there were a number of possible reasons why the new pandemic strain might have originated.
“One is that the Chinese government is trying to promote tourism in the country and this virus has been shown to cause headaches in travellers, which we know is very common,” he added.
Dr Fung says it is possible the strain may have originated from a Chinese-speaking person who came to Australia in the mid-1990S.
“That could explain why some people were complaining about headaches,” he explained.
“Another possibility is that it could be a case of Chinese flu, but we can’t be sure.”
Dr Volliers team did not identify any possible connection between the new virus and migrainers, but he said there could be potential complications.
“To date, we have not seen any evidence of migraining in travellers,” he noted.
“However, we know that there are some people who are extremely sensitive to the headaches, and that this strain is particularly sensitive to them.”
“It could potentially be something that the virus can latch onto.”
Professor Voskka Pekska and colleagues say the first case of the new cosmic railway virus was recorded in 2003.
“For the longest time, the world didn’t know what it was, but recently we have seen a lot of information coming out about this mysterious strain, and this is just another of those things that makes it even more interesting,” Dr Dyson said.