The Wuhan scientists have warned of a potential threat of high fatality due to a newly discovered coronavirus NeoCoV .
The NeoCoV virus discovered in South Africa is reportedly related to the Middle East respiratory syndrome MERS-COV. NeoCoV was found in bats in South Africa and spreads among animals, Russian agency Sputnik reported. However, a new study has found that one mutation could lead to the virus being passed from animals to humans.
The revelation has been made by the scientists from the Wuhan University and Institute of Biophysics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
According to Chinese scientists, NeoCov can penetrate human cells in the same way as SARS-CoV-2. It is only one mutation away from becoming dangerous for humans, researchers said in a paper shared via the bioRxiv electronic library.
“In this study, we unexpectedly found that NeoCoV and its close relative, PDF-2180-CoV, can efficiently use some types of bat Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and, less favorably, human ACE2 for entry,” the paper says.
“Our study demonstrates the first case of ACE2 usage in MERS-related viruses, shedding light on a potential bio-safety threat of the human emergence of an ACE2 using “MERS-CoV-2″ with both high fatality and transmission rate,” it says.
Russian researchers from Vector Russian State Research Centre of Virology and Biotechnology said that they were aware of the Chinese research on NeoCoV coronavirus.