The fear has been palpable! At least if you read some mainstream news sources.
Over the past week we have heard more and more about a Russian bat virus that, experts warn, is going to cause the next pandemic.
While the latest smattering of stories came from just this week, the virus has been studied since 2020 .. In 2020, a team of Russian scientists collected a few horseshoe bats in Sochi National Park in southern Russia. The Russians identified, in those bats, a new virus they called Khosta-2. Behaviorally, the virus seemed to have a lot in common with SARS-CoV-2.
Just this year, there were two additional studies published. The initial results, which the team described in a new peer-reviewed study that appeared last week in the science journal PLOS Pathogens, are worrying. The second bat virus didn’t seem all that infectious. But Khosta-2 appears to like human cells and do well taking them over.
Hence.. the ‘terrifying” adjectives being placed in headlines.
“We tested how well the spike proteins from these bat viruses infect human cells under different conditions,” the scientists wrote. “We found that the spike from the virus Khosta-2 could infect [the] cells, similar to human pathogens using the same entry mechanisms.”
Equally troubling, Khosta-2 proved “resistant to neutralization by serum from individuals who had been vaccinated for SARS-CoV-2.” In other words, our bodies’ defenses against COVID-19 might not protect us from a hypothetical disease caused by Khosta-2.
There is real science here and real facts. But limit your fear when reading.