Coronavirus: Scientists warn of Khosta-2, this new Covid that can infect humans – The Independent

Coronavirus: Scientists warn of Khosta-2, this new Covid that can infect humans – The Independent

A new vaccine-resistant coronavirus capable of infecting humans has been discovered in bats. Scientists warn.

The news isn’t particularly exciting, but virus hunters have discovered a new type of coronavirus with potentially identical consequences to Sras-CoV-2.

Scientists from Washington State University published the results of their research on Wednesday in the journal PLoS Pathogens scientist. A new coronavirus transmissible to humans has been discovered in bats. The virus would already be able to bypass the immune protection of the Covid-19 vaccines.

Similar to SARS-CoV-2, Khosta-2 was indeed discovered in 2020 in Russia, but so far it did not appear to be capable of human transmission.

An in-depth analysis by Michael Letek’s team suggests that the virus could infect human cells in the laboratory, the first warning sign that it could become a potential threat to public health.

To do this, the virus uses the same ACE2 protein as Sras-CoV-2 to enter human cells via the spike protein. And what worries scientists is that Khosta-2 seems to easily infect cells. But above all, the antibodies associated with vaccination did not neutralize the virus at all. And the same was true for the antibodies associated with the previous Omicron infection…

“I’m afraid viruses are circulating with these properties”

“We don’t want to scare anyone into saying this is a completely vaccine-resistant virus,” Michael Letko said. “But it is worrying that there are viruses circulating in nature that have these properties. Specifically, that they can bind to human receptors and are not neutralized by current vaccine responses.”

It was left to Professor Letek’s team to determine the dangerousness of the virus. And the relatively good news is that Khosta-2 does not appear to have genes that could cause serious disease in humans. Data that could develop, however, if the virus circulated on a large scale and mixed with the genes of Sras-CoV-2 in particular…

“When related coronaviruses get into the same animal and into the same cells, they can then recombine and produce a new virus,” explains Michael Letko. “We worry that SARS-CoV-2 could spread to animals infected with something like Khosta-2 and recombine and then infect human cells. They could be resistant to vaccine immunity and also have more virulence factors. “What are the chances that will it happen We don’t know. But in theory it could happen through recombination.”

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