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Khosta-2: Scientists Find New COVID-Like Virus In Russian Bats

Sarbecovirus, to which Khosta-2 and SARS-CoV-2 belong, is a subgroup of coronaviruses.

Image for representation only (Photo Credit: Pexels)

New Delhi: US scientists have discovered a new virus from Russian bats , that could infect human beings. The new virus named Khosta-2 cannot just infect human population but also resistant to current vaccines. 

The other name of Khosta-2 is sarbecovirus–the same sub-category of coronaviruses as SARS-CoV-2-and it displays “troubling traits”. According to reports, scientists have found a category of coronaviruses similar to that of the SARS-CoV-2 – the current Coronavirus – that were first detected living in bats in Russia in 2020.

“We do not want to scare anybody and say this is a completely vaccine-resistant virus,” Michael Letko, the lead scientist in the study, told the Time magazine. “But it is concerning that there are viruses circulating in nature that have these properties—they can bind to human receptors and are not so neutralized by current vaccine responses.”

“The chances of SARS-CoV-2 ever ‘meeting’ Khosta-2 in nature is surely very small, but there have been an increasing number of reports describing SARS-CoV-2 spilling back into wildlife—like white-tailed deer on the East Coast of the United States,” Letko said.

“Right now, there are groups trying to come up with a vaccine that doesn’t just protect against the next variant of SARS-2 (SARS-CoV-2) but actually protects us against the sarbecoviruses in general,” Letko added.

He further said, “Unfortunately, many of our current vaccines are designed [for] specific viruses we know infect human cells or those that seem to pose the biggest risk to infect us. But that’s a list that’s ever-changing. We need to broaden the design of these vaccines to protect against all sarbecoviruses.”