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New COVID-like virus found in bat could spread to humans, resist vaccines

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Researchers at WSU have found that a sarbecovirus discovered in Russian lesser horseshoe bats is capable of infecting humans and is resistant to the antibodies of people vaccinated against SARS‑CoV‑2.

A newly discovered virus similar to the virus that causes COVID-19 has been found in a Russian bat and could spread to humans, researchers at Washington State University say.According to WSU, a team led by researchers at the Paul G.

Allen School for Global Health found spike proteins from the bat virus, named Khosta-2, can infect human cells and is resistant to both the monoclonal antibodies and serum from people who’ve been vaccinated for COVID-19.Khosta-2 and SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, belong to the same sub-category of coronaviruses called sarbecoviruses."Our research further demonstrates that [viruses] circulating in wildlife outside of Asia – even in places like western Russia where the Khosta-2 virus was found – also pose a threat to global health and ongoing vaccine campaigns against SARS-CoV-2," said Michael Letko, WSU virologist and an author of the study published in the journal PLoS Pathogens.Letko said the discovery of Khosta-2 highlights the need for universal vaccines to protect against this subcategory of coronaviruses in general, rather than just against known variants of SARS-CoV-2.U.S.

regulators have authorized updated COVID-19 boosters, the first to directly target today's most common omicron strain."Right now, there are groups trying to come up with a vaccine that doesn’t just protect against the next variant of SARS-2 but actually protects us against the sarbecoviruses in general," Letko said.

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