Scientists find novel coronavirus in Russian bats that can evade immunity from current vaccines

Just as the world is pulling itself out of a pandemic that has brought life to a standstill for more than two years, yet another novel Coronavirus – Khosta-2 – has been found by scientists in Russia, according to a journal PLoS Pathogens.

According to the report, scientists have found a group of coronaviruses similar to the SARS-CoV-2 – the current Coronavirus – which were first discovered in bats in Russia in 2020. However, scientists did not think the virus posed a threat to the virus at the time. man. After research and more analysis, the scientists found that not only could the virus infect human cells when controlled in a lab, but it could also evade current immunity from the Coronavirus vaccine.

“We don’t want to scare anyone and say that this is a completely vaccine-resistant virus,” Michael Letko, the lead scientist on the study, told Time magazine. “But it’s worrying that there are viruses circulating in nature that have these properties — they can bind to human receptors and are not as neutralized by current vaccine responses.”

According to Washington State University researchers, the virus falls under a subcategory of coronaviruses called sarbecovirus, a type of respiratory virus. The study also suggests that a similar type of Coronavirus – Khosta-1 was also found, but posed no threat because it did not infect human cells unlike Khosta-2, reports Time magazine.

The researchers said the study’s findings show that sarbecoviruses in wildlife outside Asia “pose a threat to global health,” as well as to ongoing COVID-19 vaccination campaigns, Newsweek reports. However, according to the researchers, this virus does not have genes that can cause serious disease in humans, such as the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2, but can change it over time if it is mixed with genes of SARS-CoV-2.

A virologist, Dr. Arinjay Banerjee, shared the report on Twitter, saying: “Therefore, we need to develop broader protective vaccines against Sarbecoviruses to prevent further outbreaks of zoonotic coronaviruses.”

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