By: Devika Kandelwal
January 28 2022
The study neither suggests that 1 in 3 people will die from NeoCov nor that NeoCov is a new variant of COVID-19.
The study neither suggests that 1 in 3 people will die from NeoCov nor that NeoCov is a new variant of COVID-19.A Facebook post from January 28, 2022, has an image with the caption, "A group of scientists from Wuhan has warned of a new type of Coronavirus - NeoCoV - which has a potentially high death and infection rate...." The image has text on it which says that "1 in 3 infected people die; Warning from Wuhan scientist against a new variant of coronavirus "NeoCov."" News about NeoCov started circulating when the group of scientists in Wuhan published a study on coronaviruses that is yet to be peer-reviewed. The published study makes no conclusions. NeoCoV is not a "new" virus, nor is it a variant of COVID-19. So far, there have been no confirmed cases of NeoCoV in humans. In the study, the scientists state that they "unexpectedly found that NeoCoV and its close relative, PDF-2180-CoV, can efficiently use some types of bat Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and, less favorably, human ACE2 for entry," which means that the NeoCovirus could possibly infect humans. However, they further state that this is dependent on recombinations or mutations, and chances of that are rare. Furthermore, the World Health Organization informed Russian news agency Tass, "Whether the virus detected in the study will pose a risk for humans will require further study." NeoCov is a type of coronavirus that closely resembles Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) that is also caused by a coronavirus. NeoCoV was discussed in 2014 in a paper titled "Rooting the phylogenetic tree of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus by characterization of a conspecific virus from an African bat." In this paper, scientists established that the NeoCov coronavirus is only found in bats and has not infected or killed a human being so far. The Facebook post cites Sputnik News to claim that the virus can kill 1 in 3 infected people. However, the Sputnik news report neither called NeoCoV a variant of COVID-19 nor did it say that it has a high fatality rate. The Sputnik News report categorically states, "The NeoCoV virus discovered in South Africa and currently actively discussed in media reports is not new and has been around for some time. The virus is related to the Middle East respiratory syndrome MERS-CoV, outbreaks of which were recorded in 2012 and 2015." The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a lot of potentially dangerous misinformation. For reliable advice on COVID-19, including symptoms, prevention, and available treatment, please refer to the World Health Organization or your national healthcare authority.