Khosta-2 pandemic next? Scientists warn of new COVID-like virus originating from Russian bat

PULLMAN, Wash. — Is the next pandemic on the horizon? Scientists are warning of a new, COVID-like virus called Khosta-2 originating from a Russian bat. It is believed to be capable of infecting humans, and would be resistant to current vaccines.

Khosta-2 was found two years ago in horsehoe bats. Its discovery adds to evidence that sarbecoviruses — part of the coronavirus family — are rife across Asia and eastern Europe.

“Our research further demonstrates that sarbecoviruses 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,” says study lead author Dr Michael Letko, of Washington State University, in a statement.

Past studies suggest that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, emerged in an animal, most likely a bat, before spreading to humans. The precise origins of the virus are unknown and have been investigated by a team commissioned by the World Health Organization (WHO).

What will bring about the next pandemic?

Scientists believe another pandemic will happen during our lifetime. Coronaviruses can move between different mammals such as cats, dogs and minks. By moving between species, the virus can mutate and evolve into a new pathogen, which could explain how COVID-19 emerged.

In the latest research, Dr Letko and colleagues found spike proteins from Khosta-2 can infect human cells. It is resistant to both the monoclonal antibodies and serum from individuals vaccinated against COVID-19.

Both Khosta-2 and SARS- CoV-2 belong to the same sub-category of coronaviruses known as sarbecoviruses. The study highlights the need to develop universal vaccines to protect against sarbecoviruses in general, rather than just against known variants of SARS-CoV-2.

“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. Unfortunately, many of our current vaccines are designed to specific viruses we know infect human cells or those that seem to pose the biggest risk to infect us,” says Dr. Letko. “But that is a list that’s everchanging. We need to broaden the design of these vaccines to protect against all sarbecoviruses.”

Hundreds of sarbecoviruses have been discovered in recent years, mainly in bats in Asia. Most are not capable of infecting human cells. The Khosta-1 and Khosta-2 viruses were discovered in Russian bats in late 2020, and it initially appeared they were not a threat to humans.

“Genetically, these weird Russian viruses looked like some of the others that had been discovered elsewhere around the world, but because they did not look like SARS-CoV-2, no one thought they were really anything to get too excited about,” explains Letko. “But when we looked at them more, we were really surprised to find they could infect human cells. That changes a little bit of our understanding of these viruses, where they come from and what regions are concerning.”

Khosta-2 vs. COVID-19

The study, published in the journal PLoS Pathogens, finds that Khosta-1 poses a low risk to humans. Khosta-2, however, demonstrates “troubling traits.” Like SARS-CoV-2, it uses its spike protein to infect cells by attaching to a receptor protein, called ACE2 (angiotensin converting enzyme 2) found throughout human cells.

Using serum derived from human populations vaccinated for COVID, scientists also saw Khosta-2 was not neutralized. Further tests found the antibodies were also ineffective against serum from people infected with the omicron variant.

The new virus lacks some genes involved in causing COVID in humans. But there is a risk of it recombining with a second virus like SARS-CoV-2.

“When you see SARS-2 has this ability to spill back from humans and into wildlife, and then there are other viruses like Khosta-2 waiting in those animals with these properties we really don’t want them to have, it sets up this scenario where you keep rolling the dice until they combine to make a potentially riskier virus,” says Letko.

South West News Service writer Mark Waghorn contributed to this report.

Comments

  1. You need to study much more! Covid 19 came from a lab period ! “Gain of function “ research made the original virus more contagious and more deadly! In promoting a falsehood that it mutated on its on to the deadly virus it became you completely lose any credibility as a science based site !

    1. I think you need to study factual information instead of anti-vaxxer publications that either intentionally mislead (like one online newspaper does constantly) or don’t understand the data.

      1. LOL, anyone who uses the term “anti-vaxxer” is a cult member: the Branch Covidians.

        Parts of the SARS 2 genome were patented back in 2016. The “HIV-like insertions” found in the SARS 2 genome speak for themselves.

        1. Highly false, you’re not factoring in all of the “non-symptomatic” cases. If it’s as highly contagious as has been found to be, then we can safely assume most of the US has had it.

        2. SARS-Cov-2/COVID-19 (which I had in November 2020, and got over in 3 weeks) only killed 1.1 million in the US.
          I shudder to think what our leadership might do if this thing hit us . . .
          No, I am not vaxxed and haven’t had any such thing since.
          Expecting more chaos perpetrated by humanity against itself.

    2. How many postgraduate degrees do you have in the biosciences? Have you ever done any bioinformatic work? Do you even know what software would be used to analyze a genetic sequence? You have cherry-picked conspiratorial materials, that are likely either way over your head, or just intended to gin up uninformed people like yourself. You’re out of your depth.

  2. OH NO – we better run and put more poison jabs in our arms since we might get sick and have our immune system fight of the another version of the flu. Give me a break please. More BS from the media.

      1. Demonstrate, by citing autopsies, that “1,000,000” Americans died as a result of infection by SARS-CoV-2, who would not have died otherwise. AS A RESULT OF, not “with” the virus.

        If correlation is causation for the virus, then you MUST accept correlation is causation for the sham “vaccines” injuries and deaths. One way, or the other, not both as it suits you.

  3. I think Dr. Fauci can explain how Covid emerged; he may well be involved in the development of the virus via enhancement work.

  4. 2 years on and I only have 50% smell. when’s last time you had flu jumped nasal membranes into your brain?

    nitwit

    more BS from your anti-government paranoia

    1. Influenza HAS caused lingering inhibition of taste and smell. Papers in PubMed demonstrate that readily.

      That said, I am not disputing that the engineered bioweapon SARS-CoV-2 didn’t wreak havoc on many people.

      Sadly, the UN-safe and IN-effective (test positive yet again, Dr. Fauci?) sham “vaccines” have killed many factors more than the engineered virus itself.

  5. Sounds like those bioweapons labs in Ukraine run by the United States cooked up yet another engineered virus, this time blamed on RUSSIAN bats.

  6. The people that are creating all this chaos and deadly stuff need to leave the people not involved alone. We are not subjects to be used as pawns in your demented world. Keep your war games, viruses, and deadly fantasies between those of you that are creating it and playing your games.
    We have no desire to participate in your cruel endeavors.

  7. To say we need to develop a universal vaccine because they are out there in nature and we found them is irresponsible and overblown. By the very nature of a virus vaccines tend to lose effectiveness quickly but lets not forget covid vaccine is actually gene therapy also not a traditional vaccination.I dont think conspiracy theory is applicable we have seen the lengths government will go to develop dangerous weapons then downplay or cover it up. They tested nuclear weapons in space without even knowing the full consequences think they will hesitate at other risky behaviors?

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