Moscow/ Beijing/ New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: As the world continues to battle the deadly COVID-19 and its variants, a new coronavirus has reportedly been discovered by Chinese researchers that has a higher death and transmission rate, according to reports by Russian news agencies Sputnik and TASS.

The reports claimed that the new coronavirus - 'NeoCoV' - has been discovered in bats in South Africa and spreads among animals. The reports said that the study by the Chinese researchers claimed that NeoCov is closely related to PDF-2180-CoV that can infect humans.

Here it should be noted that the study - conducted by researchers from the Wuhan University and Institute of Biophysics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences - does not have any peers yet.

The study, published as a preprint on the bioRxiv website, also warned that "one mutation could lead to the virus being transmitted from animals to humans." It also claimed that the "infection could not be cross-neutralised by antibodies targeting SARS-CoV-2 or MERS-CoV."

"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," the study claimed, as reported by TASS.

"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 noted.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that more research needs to be conducted about 'NeoCov' to learn more about its potential danger to humans, adding that it is working with World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the UN Environment Program (UNEP) to "monitor and respond to the threat of emerging zoonotic viruses."

"Whether the virus detected in the study will pose a risk for humans will require further study," the WHO told TASS, thanking the Chinese researchers "for sharing their findings in a preprint."

"Animals, particularly wild animals are the source of more than 75 per cent of all emerging infectious diseases in humans, many of which are caused by novel viruses. Coronaviruses are often found in animals, including in bats which have been identified as a natural reservoir of many of these viruses."

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma