French scientists have discovered a new virus using the same technique that identified coronavirus.

A 58-year-old woman from Paris who died of encephalitis at a hospital on the outskirts of Créteil was found to have the new virus in 2019, Agence France-Presse reported on Tuesday.

It was discovered with a technique known as metagenoma - which Chinese researchers used to identify the COVID-19 virus when it first appeared in Wuhan last year.

But French scientists said there was no reason to suspect that the new virus - called the "Cristoli virus" - would lead to a similar crisis as coronavirus.

And beyond the detection method, they said there is little connection of the Cristoli virus to the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

"The mode of transmission of this disease has nothing to do with coronavirus," said Professor Jean-Michel Paëlotsky, head of medical biology at Henri-Mondor Hospital, where the discovery was made.

"With coronavirus, it is a direct transmission from person to person with sputum and therefore has a high chance of epidemic spread."

Scientists suspect the woman got the new virus through an insect, "they we have absolutely no evidence of this today," Paëlotsky said.

"We are dealing with something very different and, frankly, we do not know today how this patient caught this disease, how he caught that virus," he said.