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According to a study, a new SARS-CoV-2-like virus capable of infecting humans has been found in Russian bats. Researchers at Washington State University (WSU), US, found a virus resistant to current vaccines against COVID-19, which is highly infectious. In addition, researchers discovered spike proteins in the bat virus, referred to as Khosta-2, and reported that the virus could be used to infect human cells .
Everything You Need To Know About Khosta-2
- Khosta-2 is a sarbecovirus, a type of respiratory virus detected in a Russian horseshoe bat called Rhinolophus hipposideros. It enters cells through the ACE2 receptor in human cells .
- The Khosta-2virus and the SARS-CoV-2 virus belong to the same genus of coronavirus known as sarbecovirus.
- Khosta-2 may threaten the ongoing vaccine campaigns against COVID, according to the study.
- According to the study, universal vaccines are necessary to protect against sarbecoviruses.
- In late 2020, the Khosta-1 and Khosta-2 viruses were discovered in Russian bats. Initially, neither appeared to pose a threat to humans .
- According to the researchers, Khosta-1 poses little risk to humans, but Khosta-2 does show some troubling characteristics.
- There is a significant risk of Khosta-2 recombining with another virus, such as SARS-CoV-2.
During an interview with TIME, Michael Letko, the study's lead scientist, said that the goal is not to scare anyone and that this is only a vaccine-restraining virus. However, he also mentioned that it is concerning that viruses circulate in nature with such properties that they can bind to human receptors .
This study proves that sarbecoviruses in wildlife outside of Asia pose a threat to global health, according to the researchers at Washington State University. Although this virus does not possess the genes that can cause severe disease in humans, if it is mixed with genes of SARS-CoV-2, it may eventually change.
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