Chinese researchers, in a study that is yet to be peer-reviewed, have said that a NeoCov, a type of coronavirus detected in bats in South Africa, could pose a danger to humans if it mutates further.
The study, available on preprint repository BioRxiv, has found that NeoCov resembles the virus that caused the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
WHO added that it works closely with other agencies like the World Organization for Animal Health to respond to the dangers of “emerging zoonotic viruses”, according to TASS.
Meanwhile, in India, health experts say that there is no new risk of NeoCov jumping from animals to humans.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
“The chances of it jumping I would say is 0.001, which statistically means unlikely,” Dr Jayprakash Muliyil, chairperson of the National Institute of Epidemiology’s Scientific Advisory Committee told The Indian Express. “We live with so many pathogens; there is no need to worry about it. It is good for those who want to scare people.”
Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology Director Anurag Agrawal told the newspaper that it is important to continue monitoring pathogens.
“Good to be aware but nothing to worry about, contrary to floating headlines,” he added.
Neo Cov demystified
1 NeoCov is an old virus closely related to MERS Cov which enter cells via DPP4 receptors
2. What's new : Neo cov can use ace2 receptors of bats but they can't use human ace2 receptor unless a new mutation occurs
Everything else is hype— Dr. Shashank Joshi (@AskDrShashank) January 28, 2022