Home / Science / Health /  Coronavirus variant Khosta-2 could infect humans, warns scientists. Read here

The recently discovered coronavirus variant, Khosta-2, found in Russian bats, could also infect humans, a team of Health experts from US has warned. 

Indian Council of Medical Research - National Institute of Virology (ICMR-NIV), Pune, Dr Pragya Yadav has however, confirmed that there have not been a single reported case of Khosta infection in humans yet. 

"There are no cases of human infection with Khosta viruses have been reported yet. Seifert et al. reported that Khosta-2 could infect cells expressing human ACE2," the Senior Scientist told news agency ANI in an exclusive conversation.

"However, the probability of the Zoonotic spillover of the sarbecoviruses from animals to humans could not be denied like, it happened earlier with SARS-CoV-1 and 2 viruses," she said further.

Dr Pragya Yadav further explained to the news agency about Khosta-2 virus, "Khosta-2 virus is a SARS-like coronavirus belonging to the subgenus Sarbecovirus of the genus Betacoronavirus of the family Coronaviridae. The virus was identified in horseshoe bats from Russia."

This virus which has been reported as vaccine restraint, Dr Pragya said, "In a recent study by Seifert et al., chimeric SARS-CoV-2-based spike with the RBD from the Khosta viruses have shown resistance to neutralization with SARS-CoV-2 RBD-specific monoclonal antibody, Bamlanivimab and serum of individuals who received either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine. 

Further studies would be required to determine the effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines against Khosta-2 virus.

"On India's preparedness to deal with the reemergence of such viral pathogens, she said, "As an apex virology institute, ICMR-National institute of Virology along with the wide network of Virus Research and Diagnostic Laboratories (VRDLs) will be able to handle public health emergency situation related to the emergence or reemergence of any viral pathogen in India. We have already exhibited this strength in past as during the times of Zika, Nipah, and Monkeypox viruses, and the COVID-19 pandemic." 

It is to be noted that both Khosta-2 and SARS- CoV-2 belong to the same sub-category of coronaviruses known as sarbecoviruses. Like Covid-19 virus, Khosta-2 also uses the spike protein to enter and infect the human cells.

(With inputs from ANI)

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