A virus recently discovered in a Russian bat and similar to SARS-CoV-2 It is able to enter human cells and would be resistant to vaccines, but it lacks certain genes involved in human pathogenesis.
The virus is named Khosta-2 and is a sarbecovirus, a similar subcategory SARS-CoV-2, which causes covid-19, points to the study published by Plos Pathogenes.
The Washington State University-led team found that the Khosta-2 protein can infect human cells and is resistant to both monoclonal antibodies and serum from people vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2.
Khosta-1 and Khosta-2 viruses were discovered in bats in Russia in late 2020 and initially pose no threat to humans.
Even then, Lead research author Michael Letko from the University of Washington They indicated that when they analyzed it in depth they saw that they could infect human cells.
The team determined that Khosta-1 posed a low risk to humans, but Khosta-2 showed “Some worrying features”, According to a statement from the University of Washington.
to like SARS-CoV-2, Khosta-2 can use its spike (S) protein to infect human cells by binding to the ACE2 receptor.
The researchers wanted to determine whether current vaccines could protect against the virus and found that it was not neutralized by serum obtained from immunized groups for COVID-19.
They also tried serum from people who had been infected with the Omicron variant, but the antibodies were also ineffective. Letko indicated that “Fortunately, the new virus lacks some of the genes that are believed to be involved in pathogenesis in humans.”However there is a risk that it will be reinfected with another virus such as SARS-CoV-2.
“When we see that SARS-Cov-2 has the potential to spread from humans to wildlife, and then there are other viruses like Khosta-2 waiting in those animals, with these properties that we really don’t want them to have. Passed, it sets in. This scenario where you keep rolling the dice until they combine to form a potentially risky virus.”Told.
The discovery of Khosta-2 according to Letco, Highlights the need to develop universal vaccines that protect against cerbecovirus in generalAnd not only against known types of SARS-CoV-2.