Resistant to vaccines and capable of infecting humans, a new coronavirus has been discovered in bats. Scientists warn.
The news is not particularly exciting, but virus hunters have discovered a new type of coronavirus with consequences potentially identical to those of Sras-CoV-2.
Researchers from Washington State University published the results of their research Wednesday in the journal scientist PLoS Pathogens. They discovered a new coronavirus in bats that could be transmitted to humans. The virus could already elude the immune protection of Covid-19 vaccines.
Like SARS-CoV-2, Khosta-2 was discovered in 2020 in Russia, but until now it did not appear to be able to be transmitted to humans.
In-depth analysis by Michael Letko’s team indicates that the virus could infect human cells in the lab, the first warning sign that it could become a potential public health threat.
For this, the virus uses the same ACE2 protein as Sras-CoV-2 to enter human cells through the spike protein. And what worries scientists is that Khosta-2 seems to easily infect cells. But, above all, the antibodies linked to vaccination did not neutralize the virus at all. And the same thing happened with antibodies linked to a previous infection with Omicron…
“Worrying that viruses with these properties are circulating”
“We don’t want to scare anyone into saying this is a completely vaccine-resistant virus,” said Michael Letko. “But it is concerning that there are viruses circulating in nature that have these properties. Namely, that they can bind to human receptors and are not as neutralized by current vaccine responses.”
It was up to Professor Letko’s team to determine the danger of the virus. And there, relatively good news, Khosta-2 does not appear to have genes that can cause serious disease in humans. A fact that, however, could evolve if the virus circulated on a large scale and mixed with genes from Sras-CoV-2 in particular…
“When related coronaviruses enter the same animal and the same cells, they can recombine and produce a new virus,” explains Michael Letko. “The concern is 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 virulent factors.” What are the chances of that happening? We do not know. But in theory it could happen in a recombination event.”