“NeoCov”:Scientists Warn Of New Kind Of Coronavirus From Bats

New Type Of Coronavirus NeoCov: 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.

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.

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.

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