It was in late 2019 that the first case of Covid infection was detected in Wuhan, China. And now, researchers from Wuhan have warned of a new type of coronavirus named NeoCov in South Africa. According to a report published in the Russian news portal Sputnik, NeoCov is very deadly and highly transmissible. 

Is NeoCov virus new? 

The report published in Sputnik suggests that NeoCov virus is not new, as it is associated with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). It was discovered between 2012 and 2015 and is very much similar to the SARS-CoV-2, which causes coronavirus in humans. 

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Until now, it has been believed that NeoCov will spread among animals. However, a new unpeered study published as a preprint on the bioRxiv website suggests that NeoCov and its close relative dubbed PDF-2180-CoV can infect humans as well. According to the latest updates, NeoCov has been now detected among bats in South Africa. 

Researchers at Wuhan University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Institute of Biophysics shockingly revealed that only one mutation is required for NeoCov to infect humans. According to researchers, the novel coronavirus which is now prevalent in the world poses a risk, as it binds to the ACE2 receptor differently than the coronavirus pathogen. Researchers assure that vaccination will not be capable enough to protect people if infected with NeoCov. 

NeoCov: A blend of MERS and Covid

Chinese researchers warned that NeoCov poses a high mortality rate of MERS (one in every three infected dies). This virus now also has a high transmissibility rate of Covid which makes it a threat to humanity. 

"The Vector research center is aware of the data obtained by Chinese researchers on the NeoCoV coronavirus. At the moment, the issue is not the emergence of a new coronavirus capable of actively spreading among humans," said experts from the Russian State Virology and Biotechnology Research Center in a statement. 

The statement also noted that potential risks associated with the NeoCov virus should be studied further.