Russian bats with Covid-like virus resist vaccine antibodies

New respiratory virus, called Khosta-2, recently discovered among bats in Russia is triggering calls for urgent measures to be taken in order to avoid another pandemic.

the newly discovered virus is very similar to a Covid variant, and is covered in infectious spike proteins that could harm human cells, scientists wrote in a research paper shared on Plot Pathogens, an Open Source journal centered on pathogen biology.

The study tested how well the spike proteins from these bat viruses infect human cells under different conditions.

The virus resists the antibodies found in the Covid-19 vaccine and the ones developed from the Omicron variant.

In 2020, Khosta-1 was discovered by Russian scientists but it didn’t seem to form a threat, unlike Khosta-2.

The worrisome traits in Khosta-2 can be combined with another virus and form a new variant which will be very hard to recover from.

Khosta-2 was found in Russia’s Sochi National Park among lesser horseshoe bats (Rhinolophus hipposideros), a species also found in Europe and North Africa.

The researchers warn that the intimidating virus circulating predominately in bats poses a threat to global health and ongoing vaccine campaigns against SARS-CoV-2.

“Right now, there are groups trying to come up with a vaccine that doesn’t just protect against the next variant of SARS-2 but actually protects us against the sarbecoviruses in general,” says Letko, one of the authors of the paper according to Science Alert.

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