New Strain of Coronavirus Discovered in South Africa Has Latent Ability to Mutate


New Strain of Coronavirus Discovered in South Africa Has Latent Ability to Mutate

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Chinese scientists have warned of “a potential bio-safety threat” presented by a new strain of coronavirus, which, subject to mutation, may be passed from animals to humans and cannot be “cross-neutralized” by COVID-targeting antibodies.

The new strain from South Africa that is similar to the Wuhan SARS-CoV-2 was found in bats and has a latent ability to mutate. The result of the mutation may be the ability to penetrate into the cells of not only animals, but also humans, The News Glory reported.

“In this study, we unexpectedly found that NeoCoV and its closest relative PDF-2180-CoV can effectively use some types of angiotensin-converting enzyme in some types of bats (ACE2) and, less favorably, human ACE2 to enter the body,” reported scientists.

They clarified that a certain mutation is necessary for the virus to interact with humans, and so far it threatens only bats. At the same time, experts emphasized that the nature of NeoCoV remains largely mysterious.

Other recent studies, also conducted by Chinese scientists, have shown that “the progenitor” of the Omicron variant, which caused a new wave of the infections around the world and is now dominant in many countries, “jumped from humans to mice, rapidly accumulated mutations conducive to infecting that host, then jumped back into humans.”

Earlier in January, a new study by scientists at the Kyoto Prefectural Medical University found that the Omicron strain is more resistant to earlier variants of the coronavirus and can linger on plastic surfaces and human skin for longer. The experts analyzed the differences in resistance to environmental influences between strains of the SARS-CoV-2 virus of the Wuhan type and all variants that appeared later.

On January 7, scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences said that the Omicron strain of the coronavirus could not have come from humans, as previously thought, but from mice. Scientists believe that rodents initially contracted COVID-19 from humans. After that, presumably, within a year in the body of mice, the virus began to mutate. This led to the “birth” of a new strain of “Omicron”, which has already infected people.

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