studyCOSTA-2 nears Covid-19, warns scientists
A US study on the virus, which can infect humans and belongs to the same subtype of coronavirus as Covid-19, calls for the development of universal vaccines against this type of pathogen.
Discovered in 2020 in bats near Russia’s Sochi National Park, Costa-2 is making waves in the scientific community. It belongs to the “sarbecovirus” family, the same subclass of coronaviruses as Covid-19, which has “disturbing properties”, we can read in a study carried out by researchers at Washington State University in the United States. In the magazine on September 21 PLoS Pathogens.
Hundreds of sarbecoviruses discovered in recent years — including those found in Asian bats — cannot infect human cells, reports “West France”. Before this new research showed otherwise, scientists thought the same for the Russian Costa-1 and 2. Khosta-2 can infect humans and evade current vaccines against Covid-19.
Virologist Michael Letko, the author of the study, underlines the potential danger of sarbecovirus and the need to develop new vaccines that target not only the known types of Covid-19, but that protect against all sarbecoviruses.
However, the research puts the situation in perspective by saying that Costa-2 does not contain any genes that can cause severe disease in humans. But if the virus spreads on a large scale and mixes with SARS-CoV-2 genes, the situation could change.