Khosta-2

Khosta-2 variant of coronavirus found in Russian bats in Sochi National Park.

Key facts

  • A team of American researchers have found the Khosta-2 in Russian bats.
  • The zoonotic virus is capable of infecting humans.
  • This is unlike the Khosta-1, which is also found in Russian bats but cannot easily spread to humans.
  • Khosta-2 has been classified as sarbecovirus, a member of the coronavirus family.
  • It is related to SARS-CoV-2, which is causing a worldwide pandemic.
  • Khosta-2 was discovered in bat samples obtained from Sochi National Park between March and October 2020, when the world was struggling to contain the spread of the SARS-CoV-2.
  • The pathogen is capable of infecting human cells similar to SARS-CoV-2. It attaches to the ACE-2 entrance enzyme, which is located on the surface of the human cells with a spike-like protein on the surface.
  • While its method of infection is similar to SARS-CoV-2, Koshta-2 is not effective.
  • Scientists have combined the Khosta-2 with serum obtained from individuals vaccinated against COVID-19. They found that the antibodies in the serum were not able to neutralize the pathogen.
  • Similar results were found when the virus was combined with the serum from people who have recently recovered from Omicron infection.
  • It is also found to be completely resistant to all coronavirus vaccines currently available on the market.
  • It does not have the genes that can increase the severity of the disease like the Omicron Variant. However, this can eventually change if it mixes with the genes of the SARS-CoV-2.

About sarbecovirus

Severe acute respiratory syndrome–related coronavirus or sarbecovirus is an enveloped positive-sense, single-stranded RNA virus that enters the host cells by latching on to the ACE2 receptor. It is capable of infecting humans, bats and other mammals.

Sochi National Park

Sochi National Park is UNESCO world heritage site in Russia. Established in 1983, it is the oldest national park in Russia. It is situated in Western Caucasus, close to the city of Sochi. It is bounded by rivers Shepsi and Magri in the northwest, Abkhazia in the southeast, Black sea coast and Main Caucasian ridge in the north and south.

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