News broke out recently that Russian bats has a new respiratory virus spreading, similar to SARS and the Coronavirus. This new Covid-like virus is known as Khosta-2, and it can infect human cells the same ways as the Coronavirus however it cannot be cured by present medicines, even the Covid vaccine.
This alarming new virus was found in Russia’s Sochi National Park. When researchers in Russia discovered Khosta-2 and Khosta-1, in 2020, neither pathogen appeared to be particularly dangerous. Interestingly they were not related to SARS-CoV-2 as well. Studies showed that they descended from a distinct lineage that lacked some of the genes thought to be required to combat the human immune system.
The virus is known as Khosta-2 as a related virus that was also found in Russian bats, Khosta-1 could not affect human cells unlike Khosta-2. Public health experts are conducting tests everyday to ensure that this new virus will stay contained. World Health Organization (WHO) have stated that this type of viruses can be an issue as they can be widespread everywhere and cause a massive pandemic. Fortunately It does seem that Khosta-2 does not latch onto human cells as efficiently as the Coronavirus, but scientists are taking precaution in case Khosta-2 mixes with different virus strains to evolve and create a new variant.
People should not be alarmed about this new coronavirus as new viruses are found in different animals everyday. The main reason that scientists are keeping their eye on this specific virus is because the virus demonstrated capabilities similar to Covid-19.
The main worries is that Khosta-2 may gain the gene to spread its infection in the future and that it is also resistant to both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. Scientists have been trying to figure out how this is possible but are still unaware. Antibodies for the Omnicron variant also proved to be ineffective to Khosta-2.
Another worldwide pandemic would be devastating for a world still recovering from Covid-19 however public health experts and scientists are trying their best to prevent the worst from happening.