A team of American scientists have found another Covid variant, namely Khosta-2, in Russian bats, which is capable of infecting humans. According to Senior Scientist of the Indian Council of Medical Research – National Institute of Virology (ICMR-NIV), Pune, Dr Pragya Yadav there are no cases of human infection from the Khosta virus, so far.
“There are no cases of human infection with Khosta viruses have been reported yet. Seifert et al. reported that Khosta-2 could infect cells expressing human ACE2,” the Senior Scientist told ANI in an exclusive conversation.
“However, the probability of the Zoonotic spillover of the sarbecoviruses from animals to humans could not be denied like, it happened earlier with SARS-CoV-1 and 2 viruses,” she said further.
Dr Pragya Yadav further explained about Khosta-2 virus, “Khosta-2 virus is a SARS-like coronavirus belonging to the subgenus Sarbecovirus of the genus Betacoronavirus of the family Coronaviridae. The virus was identified in horseshoe bats from Russia.”
This virus which has been reported as vaccine restraint, Dr Pragya said, “In a recent study by Seifert et al., chimeric SARS-CoV-2-based spike with the RBD from the Khosta viruses have shown resistance to neutralization with SARS-CoV-2 RBD-specific monoclonal antibody, Bamlanivimab and serum of individuals who received either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine. Further studies would be required to determine the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines against Khosta-2 virus.”
On India’s preparedness to deal with the reemergence of such viral pathogens, she said, “As an apex virology institute, ICMR-National institute of Virology along with the wide network of Virus Research and Diagnostic Laboratories (VRDLs) will be able to handle public health emergency situation related to the emergence or reemergence of any viral pathogen in India. We have already exhibited this strength in past as during the times of Zika, Nipah, and Monkeypox viruses, and the COVID-19 pandemic.”