NeoCov – A Covid Variant? Here’s What WHO Said On New Coronavirus Strain Found In South Africa

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New Delhi: The World Health Organization (WHO) has said it requires further study whether NeoCov coronavirus, reportedly discovered in bats in South Africa, poses a threat to humans.

“Whether the virus detected in the study will pose a risk for humans will require further study,” the WHO told Russian news agency Tass.

In order to “monitor and respond to the threat of emerging zoonotic viruses”, the WHO said it “works closely” with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the UN Environment Program (UNEP).

“Animals, particularly wild animals are the source of more than 75% of all emerging infectious diseases in humans, many of which are caused by novel viruses,” the WHO said.

“Coronaviruses are often found in animals, including in bats which have been identified as a natural reservoir of many of these viruses,” the global body added.

NeoCov, according to the Chinese scientists, can penetrate human cells in the same way as SARS-CoV-2.

The researchers in a paper said it is only one mutation away from becoming dangerous for humans.


Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is a virus transferred to humans from infected dromedary camels.

It is a zoonotic virus, meaning it is transmitted between animals and people, and it is contractable through direct or indirect contact with infected animals, according to the WHO.

MERS-CoV has been identified in dromedaries in several countries in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia.

In total, 27 countries have reported cases since 2012, leading to 858 known deaths due to the infection and related complications.

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