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'NeoCoV' Is Neither a 'New' Virus nor a Variant of COVID-19

Quint FIT debunks claims of the discovery of a new strain of coronavirus that "kills 1 in 3" people

Published
COVID-19
2 min read
'NeoCoV' Is Neither a 'New' Virus nor a Variant of COVID-19
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Recent reports by news organisations with misleading headlines and viral messages claim the discovery of a new strain of the coronavirus named 'NeoCoV'. The reports also suggest that it "kills 1 in 3" people.

However, Quint FIT has debunked this misinformation circulating on social media – neither is NeoCoV a 'new' virus nor is it a variant of COVID-19. Additionally, there have been no confirmed cases of NeoCoV in humans so far.

FIT went through the study that these reports were based on and didn’t find any evidence of the claims. Moreover, the study has not been peer-reviewed.

The study, conducted by Chinese scientists, 'unexpectedly' discovered that NeoCoV and its close relative, PDF-2180-CoV, could potentially use a human and bat Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor for entry. This means it has the potential to infect humans.

The study states that the possibility depends on its re-combinations or mutations.

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'Virus Only Found in Bats'

What we do know about NeoCov:

  • NeoCoV is not a new virus, it was first found in 2014.

  • The virus is only found in bats and has not infected or killed a human being so far.

  • The new study, which talks about the NeoCoV's potential to infect humans, is not peer-reviewed.

  • NeoCoV is not a new variant of COVID-19

The data published by news organisations were based on a report published by Russian news agency Sputnik which neither called NeoCoV a variant of COVID-19 nor did it say that the virus has a fatality rate of 33 percent (1 in 3).

The Sputnik report had said that since the NeoCov was closely related to the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS-CoV), it can potentially have a mortality rate similar to that of MERS.

The report added that the virus is not a new one and didn’t mention that it was a variant of COVID-19.

The Sputnik report also added a statement from the experts from the Vector Russian State Research Centre of Virology and Biotechnology who clarified that the variant’s risk to humans required further research.

(With inputs from Quint FIT)

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