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NeoCov: Wuhan scientists warn of new Coronavirus with high death, infection rate

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Google Oneindia News

New Delhi, Jan 28: Scientists in Wuhan, where the Covid-19 virus was first discovered in 2019, have warned of a new variant of coronavirus-NeoCov, currently circulating in South Africa. The study has found that NeoCoV and its close relative, PDF-2180-CoV have the ability to infect humans.

WHO weighs in on NeoCov, thanks Chinese scientists for alert on virus | Oneindia News
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The Covid-19 virus is said to have a high death and transmission rate, according to a report by the Russian news agency Sputnik.

The new type of coronavirus, NeoCov is not new. It was found as in 2012 and 2015 in Middle Eastern countries.

NeoCov is said to be a combination of high mortality rate of MERS-CoV (where one in three infected people die on average) and the high transmission rate of the current SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. NeoCoV can not be cured by antibodies nor protein molecules produced by people with respiratory diseases.

According to Chinese scientists, NeoCov can penetrate human cells in the same way as SARS-CoV-2. It is only one mutation away from becoming dangerous for humans, researchers said in a paper shared via the bioRxiv electronic library.

"In this study, we unexpectedly found that NeoCoV and its close relative, PDF-2180-CoV, can efficiently use some types of bat Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and, less favorably, human ACE2 for entry," TASS, a Russian News agency reported quoting the paper.

"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," it says.

Notably, the infection could not be cross-neutralized by antibodies targeting SARS-CoV-2 or MERS-CoV, the Chinese research team said.

However, whether the virus detected in the study will pose a risk for humans will require further study.

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