A new coronavirus, similar to that of Covid-19, has been discovered in Russia. Detected in bats, Khosta-2 could infect humans and resist existing vaccines.
Khosta-2, new Covid-19? This virus, identified on bats in Russia, is part of the same family as SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus at the origin of Covid.
In a study, published in the journal “PLoS Pathogens” on September 22, American researchers thus explain that it is a “sarbecovirus”, a specific virus which groups together several coronaviruses.
Khosta-2 and SARS-CoV-2 share common “troubling features,” the study reports.
More worryingly, this new virus bypasses the immune protection provided by vaccines against Covid-19. Through tests, the researchers checked whether the anti-Covid serum was resistant to Khosta-2, the result is negative.
For Professor Michael Letko, lead author of the university research, “it is concerning that there are viruses circulating in nature which can bind to human receptors and are not neutralized by current vaccine responses”, warns- he in remarks collected by Time.
possible contamination for humans?
‘We found that the Khosta-2 virus protein could infect cells like human pathogens, using the same entry mechanisms,’ say the scientists behind the study.
Even if contamination is possible, the first elements of research show that this virus does not contract serious forms in humans.
risk in case of mutation
Like the Delta and Omicron variants for Covid-19, Khosta-2 could be more dangerous if mutated.
“The concern is that SARS-CoV-2 could spread to animals infected with Khosta-2, recombine, and then infect human cells. They could be resistant to vaccine immunity and have more virulent factors,” says Michael Lekto.
For the professor, it is impossible to assess the probability of this “dark scenario” occurring.