Researchers discovered a novel coronavirus in bats that is related to the SARS-CoV-2 that produces Covid and has the potential to infect people.
According to Time, citing a research in the journal PLoS Pathogens, the virus, known as Khosta-2, could also bypass the immunity afforded by Covid vaccinations.
The virus was found in bats in Russia two years ago and was assumed to be harmless to humans, but careful examination in labs recently revealed that it may infect humans.
According to the study, unlike SARS-CoV-2, this virus lacks the genes that can cause significant sickness in people. But it could if it spreads and combines with SARS-CoV-2 genes.
Khosta-2, like the virus that causes Covid, binds to the ACE2 protein to gain access into human cells, which is the initial stage in infecting humans.
The study, conducted by Michael Letko of Washington State University, also found that human antibodies created as a result of Covid vaccinations or Omicron infection did not neutralise the virus.
That suggests that neither Covid vaccines nor earlier Covid infection would provide individuals with immunity against Khosta -2.
We don’t want to terrify everybody by stating this is a 100% vaccine-resistant virus,” Michael Letko was reported in Time as saying.
The study instead attempts to demonstrate that there are a greater number of sarbecoviruses – viruses that can cause severe acute respiratory syndrome – prevalent in wildlife in various nations, and that some of them are capable of crossing over to humans at some time.
In this circumstance, a potentially dangerous scenario occurs if SARS-CoV-2 enters an animal already infected with Khosta-2, and the two viruses combine to infect humans again.