New Delhi: Scientists have detected a new type of coronavirus, NeoCov, among bats in South Africa. Scientists from a lab in China’s Wuhan, where the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 was first discovered, have reportedly warned that there is a probability that NeoCov, if it spreads among humans, could have a high death rate and high transmission rate.
According to a report by Russian news agency Sputnik, the NeoCov virus is associated with the MERS-CoV virus that was discovered in the middle-eastern countries in 2012-15.
NeoCov a relative of MERS fever
According to Russian agency TASS, scientists in China discovered that the NeoCov coronavirus that was found in bats in South Africa is a relative of the MERS fever that has symptoms and effects nearly the same as SARS-CoV-2. The report also cited that the Chinese researchers have found that the mortality rate in the NeoCov virus is likely to be very high – ‘one in every three infected individuals’.
“The Vector research center is aware of the data obtained by Chinese researchers on the NeoCoV coronavirus. At the moment, the issue is not the emergence of a new coronavirus capable of actively spreading among humans,” the Russian State Virology and Biotechnology Research Center said in a statement.
NeoCoV has so far been known to spread among bats only, but a new study so far published as a preprint has said that NeoCoV and its close relative PDF-2180-CoV could infect humans.
Researchers from the Wuhan University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Biophysics stated that one single mutation could gel the virus to infiltrate human cells.