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Khosta-2, a “strange” virus close to Covid-19 discovered in Russia

By SudOuest.fr

Khosta-2, a virus close to Covid-19, was discovered in Russia. It could infect humans and resist coronavirus vaccines. Scientists call for the development of universal vaccines against this type of virus

A new virus close to Covid-19 intrigues international scientists. According to a study by researchers at Washington State University published Thursday, September 22 in the journal PLoS Pathogens, it was discovered in bats in Russia.

Named Khosta-2, it belongs to the “sarbecovirus” family, the same subcategory of coronavirus as Covid-19, with which it has “troubling characteristics”.

A potential threat

As Ouest-France reports, most of the hundreds of sarbecoviruses discovered in recent years are not capable of infecting human cells. This appeared to be the case for Khosta 1 and 2, discovered near Russia’s Sochi National Park in 2020, according to the study.

But the latest research is less reassuring. Khosta-2 would be able to infect humans and evade antibodies against Covid-19. “Our research demonstrates that sarbecoviruses […] pose a threat to global health and vaccination campaigns against Sars-CoV-2,” said Michael Letko, virologist and study author. According to him, it is necessary to develop new vaccines that would target all these types of viruses.

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