STOCK MARKET BSE NSE

NeoCov coronavirus found in bats may pose threat to humans in future, scientists caution

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause diseases ranging from the common cold to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.

Published: 28th January 2022 05:26 PM  |   Last Updated: 28th January 2022 05:26 PM   |  A+A-

covid testing

Image used for representational purpose only. (File photo | Shriram BN, EPS)

By PTI

BEIJING: A type of coronavirus, NeoCov, that spreads among bats in South Africa may pose a threat to humans in future if it mutates further, according to a study by Chinese researchers.

The yet-to-be peer-reviewed study recently posted on the preprint repository BioRxiv, shows that NeoCov is closely related to the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), a viral disease first identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause diseases ranging from the common cold to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

Researchers from Chinese Academy of Sciences and Wuhan University noted that NeoCov is found in a population of bats in South Africa and to date spreads exclusively among these animals.

ALSO READ: India reports over 2.5 lakh Covid cases, 627 fatalities; positivity rate continues to decline

In its current form, NeoCov does not infect humans but further mutations may make it potentially harmful, the researchers noted.

"In this study, we 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," the authors of the study noted.

ACE2 is a receptor protein on cells that provides the entry point for the coronavirus to hook into and infect a wide range of cells.

"Our 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," they said.

ALSO READ: Calls received on COVID helpline dropped in January 12-25 period, says Delhi government 

The researchers further noted that infection with NeoCov could not be cross-neutralised by antibodies targeting SARS-CoV-2 or MERS-CoV.

"Considering the extensive mutations in the RBD regions of the SARS-CoV-2 variants, especially the heavily mutated Omicron variant, these viruses may hold a latent potential to infect humans through further adaptation," the authors of the study added.

A receptor-binding domain (RBD) is a key part of a virus that allows it to dock to body receptors to gain entry into cells and lead to infection.



Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp