Home / Science / Health /  Wuhan scientists warn of deadlier variant of coronavirus. Read here

Scientists from China's Wuhan have recently flagged concerns regarding another variant of the coronavirus disease, NeoCov, that might be more contagious and could potentially be deadlier than all previous strains. 

What is NeoCoV - the new COVID variant?

In the paper, published on the bioRxiv website and yet to be peer-reviewed, the scientist further clarified, NeoCov is related to the Middle East respiratory syndrome or MERS-coronavirus.

The NeoCov virus is discovered in a bat population in South Africa and is currently spreading only among animals, the scientists said and further warned that it has now been found that NeoCoV and PDF-2180-CoV use some types of angiotensin-converting enzyme, including bat ACE2 and human ACE2 for entry.

“Just one mutation is enough for the virus to be able to infiltrate human cells."

The MERS-CoV virus is similar to SARS-CoV-2 in terms of symptoms like fever, cough and shortness of breath and was prevalent in the middle-eastern countries in 2012 and 2015. Many people died due to the infection.

How deadly the virus can be?

The research said MERS-CoV belongs to the lineage C of Beta-CoV (Merbecoviruses), which poses a great threat considering its high case-fatality rate of approximately 35%.

“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," the scientists wrote in the study.

According to Chinese researchers, NeoCoV carries the potential combination of MERS-high CoV’s mortality rate (one in every three infected person dies) and the current SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus’s high transmission rate.

Can COVID vaccines protect us?

Prior infections from COVID or vaccination might not be enough to save us from NeoCovid. 

“Immunity triggered by prior infection or vaccination of other coronaviruses might be inadequate to protect humans from NeoCoV and PDF-2180-CoV infections because neither SARS-CoV-2 anti-sera nor ten tested anti-MERS-CoV nanobodies can cross-inhibit the infection caused by these two viruses," the researchers stated.

Earlier this week, World Health Organisation officials said that the“Next Covid-19 variant will definitely be more contagious than omicron, but the real question is whether or not it will be more deadly."


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