First Genomic Evidence of a Henipa-like Virus in Brazil

Viruses. 2022 Sep 30;14(10):2167. doi: 10.3390/v14102167.


The viral genus Henipavirus includes two highly virulent zoonotic viruses of serious public health concern. Hendra henipavirus and Nipah henipavirus outbreaks are restricted to Australia and Southeast Asia, respectively. The Henipavirus genus comprises mostly bat-borne viruses, but exceptions have already been described as novel viruses with rodents and shrews as reservoir animals. In the Americas, scarce evidence supports the circulation of these viruses. In this communication, we report a novel henipa-like virus from opossums (Marmosa demerarae) from a forest fragment area in the Peixe-Boi municipality, Brazil, after which the virus was named the Peixe-Boi virus (PBV). The application of next-generation sequencing and metagenomic approach led us to discover the original evidence of a henipa-like virus genome in Brazil and South America and the original description of a henipa-like virus in marsupial species. These findings emphasize the importance of further studies to characterize PBV and clarify its ecology, impact on public health, and its relationship with didelphid marsupials and henipaviruses.

Keywords: henipavirus; marsupialia; metagenomics; opossums.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brazil / epidemiology
  • Chiroptera*
  • Genomics
  • Hendra Virus*
  • Henipavirus Infections* / epidemiology
  • Nipah Virus*

Grants and funding

This research was funded with a scholarship by Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (88882.449760/2019-01—CAPES) and with resources by Evandro Chagas Institute, Science, Technology, Inovation and Health Strategic Input Secretariat, Ministry of Health.