Khosta-2, Langya henipavirus… Should we worry about these discoveries of new viruses?

published on Wednesday, September 28, 2022 at 12:55 p.m.

Since this summer, the identification of new viruses, Langya henipavirus then Khosta-2, has raised concern. However, there is nothing to be alarmed about, indicates Le Parisien, Wednesday September 28.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic, surveillance has increased around new viruses.

Last August, the Langya henipavirus sparked the curiosity of scientists and a flood of anxiety-provoking comments, as did Khosta-2 this month. These discovered viruses are nevertheless not a source of real concern, reports Le Parisien, Wednesday, September 28.

In the journal PLoS Pathogens, published on September 21, the authors of a paper tested the characteristics of two coronaviruses identified in bats in Russia, which they called Khosta-1 and Khosta-2. They then discovered that the latter infects cells via the ACE2 receptor, as does SARS-CoV-2, and could potentially infect humans. Hence growing concern as the world still recovers from two years of pandemic.

No human cases of Khosta-2 have been identified

“There is nothing extraordinary, insofar as bats can harbor this type of coronavirus which uses this ACE2 receptor. But this absolutely does not presage a passage to humans”, nuance, however, Bruno Canard, research director at the CNRS at Aix Marseille University, with the Parisian. In addition, no human cases infected with Khosta-2 have been identified.

“This discovery is interesting because it highlights the presence of new coronaviruses in bats. This encourages us to be vigilant and to monitor these viruses, without thinking that each of them has epidemic potential. even pandemic in humans”explains Yannick Simonin, virologist and lecturer at the University of Montpellier, to the daily.

“Monitoring is much finer”

According to Bruno Canard, scientists should discover more new viruses in the future because “monitoring is much finer” since the Covid-19 pandemic. “It is absolutely not surprising to discover new viruses, because we track them more actively”abounds Yannick Simonin, with the Parisian. “This is rather good news, because identifying them early in animals makes it possible to anticipate their possible appearance in humans”he concludes.

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