What is NeoCov, Deadlier Type Of Coronavirus Warned By Wuhan Scientists: All You Need To Know
Even as the world is dealing with the surge in Omicron variant cases, Chinese researchers have detected a new type of coronavirus called NeoCov.
New Delhi: Even as the world is dealing with the surge in Omicron variant cases, Chinese researchers have detected a new type of coronavirus called NeoCov. NeoCov, the new type of coronavirus, was detected among bats in South Africa. Scientists from the Wuhan University in China said NeoCov can penetrate human cells in the same way as SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19. While research claims it has latent ability to mutate, the World Health Organisation has said its potential needs further clarity.
What is NeoCov
NeoCov is not a new variant of COVID-19 but a new type of coronavirus. NeoCov is associated with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome MERS-COV, a similar kind of SARS-CoV-2 virus. “It is only one mutation away from becoming dangerous for humans,” researchers said in a paper posted on preprint website bioRxiv, and not peer-reviewed yet.
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The Chinese scientists said that they “unexpectedly found that NeoCoV and its close relative, PDF-2180-CoV, can efficiently use some types of bat Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and, less favourably, human ACE2 for entry”.
Where was it detected
NeoCov – the new kind of coronavirus – was detected among bats in South Africa. Till now, it has not been detected in humans, however, scientists said it “is only one mutation away from becoming dangerous for humans”.
What WHO said
According to the WHO, the question of whether the NeoCov coronavirus, recently discovered in bats in South Africa, poses a threat to humans, requires further study. “Whether the virus detected in the study will pose a risk for humans will require further study,” the health body was quoted as saying to TASS news agency.
The WHO added that it “works closely” with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the UN Environment Program (UNEP)in order to “monitor and respond to the threat of emerging zoonotic viruses.”
The WHO told TASS that its experts were aware of this research, and “thank the researchers for sharing their findings in a preprint.”
“Animals, particularly wild animals, are the source of more than 75 per cent of all emerging infectious diseases in humans, many of which are caused by novel viruses. Coronaviruses are often found in animals, including in bats which have been identified as a natural reservoir of many of these viruses,” the global body said.
The study “demonstrates the first case of ACE2 usage in MERS-related viruses, shedding light on a potential bio-safety threat of the human emergence of an ACE2 using ‘MERS-CoV-2’ with both high fatality and transmission rate”.
NeoCov: Is it more dangerous than SARS-CoV-2
Russian scientists that noted the discovery of this variety – SARS-CoV-2 – shows that the variants of viruses capable of binding to human receptors without any adaptation are already circulating directly in the wild, TASS reported.
Yet, it is difficult to assess its dangers, Head of the Biotechnology Laboratory of the Gamaleya Center Sergey Alkhovsky was quoted as saying. “This is a rather serious, interesting discovery but it is very difficult to estimate the direct danger of this particular strain. We can state that there is a multitude of these strains circulating in the wild and we need to study this multitude, this genetic diversity and promote research in this area,” he said at the meeting of the Scientific Council of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
A report by the Russian news agency Sputnik, NeoCov can not be cured by antibodies nor protein molecules produced by people with respiratory diseases.
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