A virus close to Covid-19 discovered, scientists call for the development of a universal vaccine – Ouest-France

A virus close to Covid-19 discovered, scientists call for the development of a universal vaccine – Ouest-France

Two and a half years later the start of the Covid-19 pandemicscientists from Washington State University published the results of their research on Wednesday, September 21, 2022 at virus from the same familydiscovered on bats in Russia that would be able to infect humans and escape antibodies and SARS-CoV-2 vaccine.

It is called Khosta-2 and belongs to the category “sarbecovirus” – the same subcategory of the coronavirus as Covid-19, with which it presents itself “disturbing properties”according to this study published in the journal PLoS Pathogens.

Our research shows again that sarbecoviruses circulating in the wild outside of Asia—even in places like western Russia, where the Khosta-2 virus was discovered—also pose a health threat. worldwide and ongoing vaccination campaigns against SARS-CoV-2 said Michael Letko, virologist and author of the study.

This discovery, he said, highlights the need to develop new vaccines that do not only target known variants of Covid-19, such as Omicron, but that protect against all sarbecoviruses.

Most sarbecoviruses are unable to infect humans

Of the hundreds of sarbecoviruses discovered in recent years, most have been found in Asian bats and are unable to infect human cells.

The Khosta-1 and Khosta-2 viruses were discovered near Russia’s Sochi National Park in 2020 and initially appeared not to pose a threat to humans, according to the study’s authors.

“Genetically, these strange Russian viruses looked like some others that had been discovered elsewhere in the world, but because they didn’t look like SARS-CoV-2, no one thought there was really anything to worry about.”explains Michael Letko. But when we took a closer look at them, we were really surprised to find that they could infect human cells. It kind of changes our understanding of these viruses, where they come from and which areas are affected. he added.

Good news though. If Khosta-2 did manage to infect humans, it does not appear to have any genes that could cause serious disease in humans. Data that could evolve, however, if the virus circulated on a large scale and mixed with SARS-CoV-2 genes.

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