Beware of Newly Discovered Vaccine-resistant Coronavirus of Russian Bats! | 2022

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Vaccine-resistant coronavirus similar to COVID-19 is found in Russian bats, recently published in a prestigious research journal.

Recently a new situation arrived for leading researchers of coronavirus and vaccines for creating jabs to prevent all similar viruses.

In Russian bats, a new coronavirus called Khosta-2 similar to the SARS-CoV-2 that causes Covid has been discovered.

These viruses could potentially infect humans and may be resistant to COVID Vaccines published in an article in the journal PLoS Pathogens.

The virus was initially discovered in bats in Russia two years ago and thought to be harmless to people, but closer scrutiny recently in labs showed it could infect human beings.

Vaccine-resistant Coronavirus-Khosta-2 

Rhinolophus ferrumequinum carries Vaccine-resistant Khosta-2 coronavirus
Rhinolophus ferrumequinum carries Khosta-2 virus
Rhinolophus hipposideros carries Vaccine-resistant Khosta-2 coronavirus
Rhinolophus hipposideros carries Khosta-2 virus

The study states how well the spike proteins from these bat viruses infect human cells under different conditions and it was found that the spike from the Khosta-2 virus, could infect cells similar to human pathogens using the same entry mechanisms.

According to the study, this virus lacks the genes responsible for serious human diseases, unlike SARS-CoV-2. But if it circulates wider and gets mixed with genes of SARS-CoV-2, its gene will be mutated and could cause severe diseases like SARS-CoV-2.

Like SARS-CoV-2 causing Covid, the Khosta-2 virus uses angiotensin-converting enzyme-2 (ACE-2) to enter into human cells by binding with it.

Viral pseudotypes with a recombinant (the process of producing viruses or viral vectors in combination with foreign viral envelope proteins), SARS-CoV-2 spike encoding for the Khosta 2 receptor binding domain (RBD) were resistant to both SARS-CoV-2 monoclonal antibodies and serum from individuals vaccinated for SARS-CoV-2.

That means neither Covid vaccines nor prior infection from Covid infection would provide humans any immunity protection from Khosta -2.

“We don’t want to scare anybody and say this is a completely vaccine-resistant virus,” Michael Letko was quoted as saying in the Time report.

Further, the findings also demonstrate that this vaccine-resistant coronavirus, sarbecoviruses circulating in wildlife outside of Asia also pose a threat to global health and ongoing vaccine campaigns against SARS-CoV-2.

The UPI News states that, in a news release, the corresponding author of the study and virologist Michael Letko said that, 

“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,”.

“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.”

Letko said that “the team determined that Khosta-2 right now lacks some of the genes needed for pathogenesis in humans but that there are risks of it recombining with a second virus-like SARS-CoV-2 which could give it that ability”.

He also states that “the SARS-CoV-2 virus has the potential to “spill back” from humans into wildlife where viruses like Khosta-2 are “waiting in those animals with these properties we really don’t want them to have.”

In this case, a potentially problematic scenario is if SARS-CoV-2 spills back into an animal already infected with Khosta -2, and the two viruses combine to go back and infect humans again.

“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,” Letko said.

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

Recently another research work published in Science Immunology journal claimed that an antibody (SP1-77) that can neutralize all COVID-19 variants was discovered and brought hope for a solution to a great global problem.

So we wouldn’t lose hope for the solution of Covid.


  • Seifert SN, Bai S, Fawcett S, Norton EB, Zwezdaryk KJ, Robinson J, et al. (2022) An ACE2-dependent Sarbecovirus in Russian bats is resistant to SARS-CoV-2 vaccines. PLoS Pathog 18(9): e1010828. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal. ppat.1010828
  • Alkhovsky S, Lenshin S, Romashin A, Vishnevskaya T, Vyshemirsky O, Bulycheva Y, et al. SARS-like
    coronaviruses in horseshoe bats (Rhinolophus spp.) in Russia, 2020. birXiv. 2021.

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FAQ related to Vaccine-resistant Coronavirus

Can asymptomatic people be carriers of COVID-19?

According to various recent evidences, COVID-19 can spread through silent carriers.

These silent carriers or spreaders are people who are infected with coronavirus but show little or no symptoms of the disease.

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