The question of whether the NeoCov coronavirus, recently discovered in bats in South Africa, poses a threat to humans, requires further study, according to the World Health Organization, Report informs, citing TASS.
"Whether the virus detected in the study will pose a risk for humans will require further study," the organization has told TASS, adding that it "works closely" with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the UN Environment Program (UNEP)in order to "monitor and respond to the threat of emerging zoonotic viruses."
Chinese researchers earlier detected a new type of coronavirus among bats in South Africa. According to reports, it is closely related to the Middle East respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus (MERS) and can enter cells in a manner similar to that of SARS-CoV-2.
The WHO told TASS that its experts were aware of this research, and "thank the researchers for sharing their findings in a preprint."
"Animals, particularly wild animals are the source of more than 75% of all emerging infectious diseases in humans, many of which are caused by novel viruses. Coronaviruses are often found in animals, including in bats which have been identified as a natural reservoir of many of these viruses," the global body said.
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.