NeoCov Coronavirus

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    What is NeoCoV?

    • It is a bat coronavirus that was first identified in 2011
    • It was found in a population of bats in South Africa and to date has spread exclusively among these animals.
    • It was identified in a species of bats known as Neoromicia, which is where the name NeoCoV was derived from. 
      • Commonly known as aloe bats, this species is distributed in the Afro-Malagasy region. 
    • It shares an 85% similarity to MERS-CoV in the genome sequence, making it the closest known relative of MERS-CoV.
    • Chances of Human infection: inherently, NeoCoV cannot interact with human receptors, implying that in its current form the virus cannot infect humans.
      • It may pose a threat to humans in future.
    • The World Health Organization (WHO) still needs to study whether it poses threats for humans.
    • Infection with NeoCov could not be cross-neutralised by antibodies targeting SARS-CoV-2 or MERS-CoV.

    What is the MERS-CoV virus?

    • It was discovered in 2012. The first case was detected in Saudi Arabia. 
    • It is a zoonotic virus, which means it is transmitted between animals and people.
    • It is similar to SARS-CoV-2 in terms of symptoms like fever, cough and shortness of breath. 
    •  Most of the human cases of MERS-CoV infections spread through human-to-human infections. Many people have lost their lives due to MERS-CoV
    • The case fatality rate for MERS is estimated by WHO to be 35%, but the number may be overestimated since disease surveillance systems could have missed milder cases of MERS-CoV.

    About Coronaviruses 

    • They are a large family of viruses that are known to infect animals and humans. 
      • They are largely categorised into four genera — alpha, beta, gamma and delta.
        • Broadly speaking, alpha and beta coronaviruses commonly infect mammals such as bats and humans, while Gamma and Delta mainly infect birds
        • While animals, including bats, are generally considered as the reservoirs of coronaviruses, rarely spillover events could occur.
        •  It is possible for viruses that infect animals to jump to humans, a process which is known as zoonotic spillover. 
          • Many major infectious diseases, including COVID-19, is widely thought to be a result of spillover.

    Source: TH