Wuhan scientists detect NeoCov coronavirus among bats in South Africa: Does it pose any threat to humans? WHO sheds light

How concerning is the NeoCov coronavirus?

Since the onset of the novel coronavirus, the world has already experienced three dominant variants of COVID-19 that caused widespread infections and fatalities. While the kappa variant was responsible for the first wave of the pandemic, the second wave proved to be fatal and was dominated by the Delta variant of the virus. With Omicron bringing in the third wave, the virus has been observed to have mutated into a more transmissible, but less fatal form.

The third wave is believed to have peaked in most countries of the world and is now ebbing. However, there seems to be no relief in sight because scientists at Wuhan have reportedly found a new strain of virus in bats in South Africa. This virus called NeoCov was believed to have a high death and transmission rate, according to a Russian news agency Sputnik. However, research about the same is in progress and here is all you need to know about it.

Also read: Coronavirus: Is the newly found NeoCov COVID variant by Wuhan scientists the deadliest of all COVID strains?READMORE

02/6What is NeoCov?

The term NeoCov stands for new coronavirus which is a misnomer because it has not yet been proven as a variant of SARs-Cov-2. The virus in question was found in bats in South Africa and is closely related to the MERS virus. MERS stands for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. The virus is a part of a research paper written by scientists at Wuhan, which is the epicenter of the pandemic. The research paper is yet to be peer reviewed and more research and assessment is needed before establishing any concrete proofs about the virus being transmitted to human beings.


03/6What is MERS?

MERS or the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome is a viral respiratory disease that set foot in the world in 2012. The virus is zoonotic, meaning it transfers from animals to human beings through direct or indirect contact. MERS-CoV has been identified in dromedaries in several countries in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia. In total, 27 countries have reported cases since 2012, leading to 858 known deaths due to the infection and related complications.

Also read: Coronavirus: What is ‘stealth’ Omicron? Is it harder to track? Know all about this new sub-variant and what makes it so concerning

The principal symptoms of MERS include fever, cough and shortness of breath. It was transmitted to humans from infected dromedary camels and human to human transmission is possible and a few transmissions were reported in members of the same family, as per the World Health Organization (WHO).READMORE

04/6The link between MERS and SARs-Cov-2

The NeoCov or the new coronavirus has been found in bats in South Africa and has been found to be closely associated with MERS. However, the new virus which is closely related to MERS is not SARs-Cov-2. Because of its close association with MERS, it is believed to be highly transmissible and fatal. In addition to this, its links with scientists at Wuhan have also lead to its unsolicited associations with the coronavirus.

05/6Should you be worried?

“Coronaviruses are often found in animals, including in bats which have been identified as a natural reservoir of many of these viruses.” said WHO. Any claims made right now, regarding this virus affecting humans, are not supported by enough evidence and need extensive research. “Whether the virus detected in the study will pose a risk for humans will require further study.” WHO told Russia news agency TASS.

06/6What could happen?

Now that research regarding NeoCov has begun, it needs much more development before starting anything as a concrete fact. The association of the virus with the MERS virus has led to multiple rumors, especially about its fatality, for the virus is believed to kill one in every three people it infects. However, any proof of it being transferred from animals to humans has not yet been found. Speculations regarding the same have led to it being labeled as a very dangerous virus but only if it is transferred to humans, which would require a mutation.