Virus found in Russia similar to coronavirus leaves scientists on alert

Researchers have alerted the scientific community about a new virus discovered in a bat in Russia that presents traits similar to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. According to scientists at Washington State University, the virus demonstrates the potential to infect humans and, if it spreads, is resistant to currently applied vaccines. The finding was published in the journal PLoS Pathogens this Thursday the 22nd.

The virus present in the bat, called Khosta-2is from the same subcategory as the new coronavirus, sarbecovirus, and the group found that its proteins are resistant to the serum of people vaccinated against Covid-19 and also to monoclonal antibodies, a line of treatment that has been used against the disease.

“Our research further demonstrates that sarbecoviruses circulating in wildlife outside Asia also pose a threat to global health and to ongoing vaccine campaigns against SARS-CoV-2,” said Michael Letko, a virologist and a senior fellow, in a statement. of the study authors.

The researcher argues that universal vaccines with a focus on sarbecoviruses are developed so that the population is protected not only against Covid-19, but against new diseases that may arise from this subcategory of viruses with possible capacity to cause infections in humans.

The group led by Letko discovered the Khhosta-1 and Khhosta-2 viruses in Russian bats in late 2020 and in-depth studies have shown the similarities between Khhosta-2 and SARS-CoV-2. O Khhosta-1 showed no risk to humans.

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