NEW DELHI: A group of Chinese scientists from Wuhan have warned of a new type of Coronavirus – NeoCoV – which has a potentially high death and infection rate. According to a Sputnik report, the NeoCov virus has been discovered in South Africa and it is reportedly related to the Middle East respiratory syndrome MERS-COV.
NeoCoV was first found in the bat population in South Africa and it then spread among animals, according to the Sputnik report. A new study recently claimed that one mutation could lead to the virus being passed from animals to humans.
The study found that NeoCoV and its close relative, PDF-2180-CoV have the ability to use some types of bat Angiotensin-converting enzyme2 (ACE2) and human ACE2 to enter the body. The researchers have insisted that one mutation could result in the virus getting transmitted to human cells, Sputnik reported.
The startling revelation has been made by the scientists from the Wuhan University and Institute of Biophysics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The new study is not yet peer-reviewed and has been released in a preprint on bioRxiv.
Sputnik cited the Wuhan scientists as saying that NeoCoV carries with it the potentially combined 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.
Reacting to the findings of the new study, Russian researchers from Vector Russian State Research Centre of Virology and Biotechnology said that they were aware of the Chinese research on NeoCoV coronavirus.
They, however, added that the data does not reveal the emergence of a new coronavirus that could be transmitted among humans and called for deeper study in this regard.