Just when we thought we were at peace with the Covid-19 pandemic, a new disease has decided to give us a plot twist. Russian authorities have detected a new disease involving the same virus family that may infect humans.

Research conducted by Washington State University's Paul Allen School for Global Health found that humans can become infected with Khosta-2, a virus similar to SARS-CoV-2 that evades the immune protection provided by the Covid-19 vaccine.

Simply put, this new virus has a mechanism to defend itself against the vaccine.

The virus was first discovered in Russian bats in late 2020 by researchers, and two new viruses were identified: Khosta-1 and Khosta-2.

In their view, Khosta-1 is not a major threat to humans, however, Khosta-2 showed some worrying traits and may pose a serious threat to humans.

Michael Letko, the lead scientist behind the study, told Time magazine, "We do not want to scare anybody and say this is a completely vaccine-resistant virus," Nevertheless, it is concerning that there are viruses circulating in nature that have these properties—they can bind to human receptors and are not so neutralized by current vaccine responses."

The researchers said the study's findings demonstrated that sarbecoviruses (Khosta-2) in wildlife outside of Asia pose a “risk to global health" and to ongoing COVID-19 vaccination campaigns. Although this virus doesn't have genes that can cause serious diseases in people like the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2, researchers believe it can eventually change if it mixes with SARS-CoV-2 genes.

Dr. Arinjay Banerjee, a virologist, shared the report on Twitter and said, “This is why we need to develop more broadly protective vaccines against Sarbecoviruses to prevent further outbreaks of zoonotic coronaviruses."

Source: Time, News18

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