Hepatitis A virus (HAV) is a hepatotropic ('liverloving') picornavirus that causes acute liver disease worldwide.
Scientists recently reported the identification of a novel Hepatitis A Virus in Himalayan marmots (Marmota Himalayana) in south-western China. They tentatively named the virus Marmota Himalayana Hepatitis A Virus (MHHAV).
Phylogenetic analysis further indicated that Marmota Himalayana Hepatitis A Virus groups with known Hepatitis A viruses, but forms an independent branch and represents a new species in the genus Hepatovirus.
Evolutionary analysis of Marmota Himalayana Hepatitis A Virus and primate Hepatitis A viruses led to a most recent common ancestor estimate of 1,000 years ago, while the common ancestor of all Hepatitis A-related viruses including phopivirus can be traced back to some 1800 years ago.
The discovery of Marmota Himalayana Hepatitis A Virus may provide new insights into the origin and evolution of Hepatitis A viruses.
 Yu et al: A novel hepatovirus identified in wild woodchuck Marmota himalayana in Scientific Reports – 2016