Europe1 .fr 12:25 p.m., September 27, 2022

A virus from the same family as Covid-19 was discovered by American scientists in bats.

This new coronavirus, called Khosta-2, would be able to infect humans and escape the protection conferred by vaccines against Covid-19.

It is a virus close to Covid-19 which has just been discovered.

According to a study published by Washington State University in the journal 

PLoS Pathogens

, American scientists have discovered a virus from the same family as Sars-Cov-2, the virus causing Covid, in bald people. -mouse in Russia.

This virus, called Khosta-2, would be able to infect humans, to escape antibodies and vaccines against Covid-19.

Ineffective Covid-19 vaccines

This novel coronavirus was discovered in bats in Russia in 2020 and posed no threat to humans, scientists say.

But when the researchers carried out further analysis, they discovered that the virus could infect human cells in the laboratory.

Even more troubling, Khosta-2 seems to evade Covid-19 antibodies and vaccines.

"It is concerning that there are viruses circulating in nature that can bind to human receptors and are not neutralized by current vaccine responses," said Washington State University professor Michael Letko. , lead author of the study.

No severe forms in humans

However, the researcher wants to be reassuring and indicates that for the moment, Khosta-2 does not seem to cause serious forms in humans.

But that could change if Khosta-2 starts circulating more widely and mixing with genes from SARS-CoV-2.

“The concern is that Sras-Cov-2 could spread to animals infected with Khosta-2, recombine, and then infect human cells. They could be resistant to vaccine immunity and have more virulent factors,” he explains.

According to Michael Letko, this sobering finding and highlights the need to develop new vaccines that do not only target known variants of Sars-CoV-2, such as Omicron.

“These viruses are really widespread everywhere and will continue to be a problem for humans in general,” he said.