What Is NeoCov – Explained

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There are four categories of Coronavirus – gamma, delta, alpha and beta. The first two variants harm birds, while alpha and beta infect mammals like us. However, it is also possible for infections that infect animals can also affect humans; this event is commonly called zoonotic spillover.

Viruses such as NL63, 229E, HKU1, and OC43 cause mild infections in humans. On the other hand, MERS – CoV, and SARS-CoV cause deadly diseases. Latter, one led to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In 2012, infected dromedary camels were held responsible for the emergence of MERS-COV. It infected more than 2000 people in Africa, South Asia, and the Middle East.

How a Covid latches onto unique receptors on host cells relies upon a vital piece of the infection known as its receptor-binding domain. Currently, ACE2 is used by SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2, and DPP4 is used by MERS-CoV.

NeoCoV is a virus that was first discovered in 2011 in species of bats known as aloe bats which are commonly found in the Afro-Malagasy region. This bat coronavirus genome sequence is 85% similar to MERS-CoV.

What does the preprint reveal?

According to a study, NeoCoV and MERS-CoV share a similarity, but they use different receptors to infect any cell. NeoCoV mainly uses bat ACE2 receptors for entering cells, and the interaction between both is altogether different. NeoCov can’t use human ACE2 receptors, but it is important to note that there is a specific mutation artificially developed in the receptor-binding domain of NeoCov that can make it efficient to interact with human ACE receptors. These mutations do not separate from natural settings.

With further adaptation, NeoCoV or other related viruses can infect humans. As encroachment of animal habitats is increasing day by day, it may accelerate spillover events. To prevent future pandemics, continuous monitoring of viruses is essential. It will help in understanding the complex receptor usage of different Coronaviruses.

Recently Dr. Shashank Joshi tweeted about NeoCov which explains much about the virus:

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