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With bats again? Strauss was right: “Die, Fledermaus!”

Euronews: “Khosta-2: Scientists warn Russian bat virus can infect humans and resist COVID vaccines.” It cites PLOS Pathogens:

ACE2-dependent Sarbecovirus in Russian bats is resistant to SARS-CoV-2 vaccines

The spread of sarbecoviruses from animals to humans has led to outbreaks of severe acute respiratory syndrome SARS-CoV and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Efforts to identify the origins of SARS-CoV-1 and -2 have led to the discovery of numerous animal sarbecoviruses—most of which are only distantly related to known human pathogens and do not infect human cells. The receptor-binding domain (RBD) of sarbecoviruses binds host cell receptor molecules and mediates cell invasion. Here, we tested the receptor tropism and serological cross-reactivity to RBD of two sarbecoviruses found in Russian horseshoe bats. Although the two viruses are a different lineage from SARS-CoV-1 and -2, the RBD of one virus, Khosta 2, was able to use human ACE2 to facilitate cell entry. Viral pseudotypes with a recombinant SARS-CoV-2 spike encoding the Khosta 2 RBD were resistant to both SARS-CoV-2 monoclonal antibodies and sera from individuals vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2. Our results also show that sarbecoviruses circulating in wildlife outside of Asia also pose a threat to global health and ongoing SARS-CoV-2 vaccine campaigns.

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