New Covid-like virus found in Russian bats — Here’s all you need to know
- Both SARS-CoV-2 and
Khosta-2belong to the same sub-category of coronaviruses known as sarbecoviruses.
- A study has shown that the new
viruscan dodge the current vaccine immunity of people.
- However, no human cases have been found yet anywhere globally.
AdvertisementJust after the World Health Organisation (WHO) said that there is an end in sight for the Covid-19 pandemic, a new Covid-like virus named Khosta-2 was detected in
What is Khosta-2 virus?
Khosta-2 is a sarbecovirus, which is technically a respiratory
However, according to a recent study by researchers of WSU’s Paul Allen School for Global Health, the Khosta-2 virus can infect human cells. Both SARS-CoV-2 and Khosta-2 belong to the same sub-category of coronaviruses known as sarbecoviruses.
“In this study, we tested how well the spike proteins from these bat viruses infect human cells under different conditions. We found that the spike from virus Khosta-2 could infect cells similar to human pathogens using the same entry mechanisms, but was resistant to neutralisation by serum from individuals who had been vaccinated for SARS-CoV-2,” the researchers said in a journal PLoS Pathogens.
It also highlighted that the new virus can dodge the current vaccine immunity of people.
“We do not want to scare anybody and say this is a completely vaccine-resistant virus," Michael Letko, the lead scientist in the study, told Time magazine.
A related virus named Khosta-1 was found in Russian bats in 2020 only, however, it couldn’t enter human cells like Khosta-2. The new virus attaches to the same protein, ACE2, which SARS-CoV-2 uses to penetrate human cells.
But the good news is that the Khosta-2 virus will not cause a serious disease in people like the Omicron variant of Covid-19, the study suggests.
“But it is concerning that there are viruses circulating in nature that have these properties—they can bind to human receptors and are not so neutralised by current vaccine responses,” said Letko, who is assistant professor in the Paul G. Allen School.
No cases found in humans yet
As of now, no Khosta-2 cases in humans have been reported yet, Dr Pragya Yadav, Indian Council of Medical Research - National Institute of Virology (ICMR-NIV), Pune told news agency ANI.
AdvertisementShe said, “Seifert et al. reported that Khosta-2 could infect cells expressing human ACE2. However, the probability of the Zoonotic spillover of the sarbecoviruses from animals to humans could not be denied like, it happened earlier with SARS-CoV-1 and 2 viruses.”
The Indian government is now ready to handle any kind of public health emergency situation related to the emergence or reemergence of any viral pathogen in India, Dr. Yadav clarified.
“We have already exhibited this strength in the past as during the times of Zika, Nipah, and Monkeypox viruses, and the Covid-19 pandemic,” she added.
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