New virus discovered in China similar to COVID-19, say scientists
The virus named RpYN06 was discovered by a team of researchers from Shandong First Medical University and Shandong Academy of Medical Sciences in Tainan.
Scientists in China have found a new virus, which they say is similar to SARS-CoV-2 that causes the COVID-19 disease. According to Express, the new virus that Chinese virologists have discovered has been detected in a bat species and is reportedly about 94 per cent identical to COVID-19. The virus named RpYN06 was discovered by a team of researchers from Shandong First Medical University and Shandong Academy of Medical Sciences in Tainan.
Chinese researchers found the new virus after studying 411 bat samples from 23 different species that were collected between 2019 and 2020 in Yunnan province. Scientists discovered four new viruses related to SARS-CoV-2, including the RpYN06 virus. Scientists have said that all four viruses have a similar genome sequence as COVID-19 but likened RpYN06 to be closest to SARS-CoV-2 because of its similar spike protein.
From these data we obtained 24 full-length coronavirus genomes, including four novel SARS-CoV-2 related and three SARS-CoV related genomes. Of these viruses, RpYN06 exhibited 94.5% sequence identity to SARS-CoV-2 across the whole genome and was the closest relative of SARS-CoV-2 in the ORF1ab, ORF7a, ORF8, N, and ORF10 genes, said the study.
Emergence of Disease X’
Earlier, the World Health Organization (WHO) had warned about the possibility of another pandemic caused by ‘Disease X’, where X stands for unexpected. Global experts believe the world could face another pandemic-like situation in the near future caused by an unknown and unexpected disease or disease, which has been dubbed as ‘Disease X’.
According to the WHO, Disease X is the possibility of an international epidemic that can spread from a pathogen that still remains novel to humankind, just like the novel coronavirus. The global community is yet to recover from the humanitarian and financial stress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and another disease outbreak amid the crisis would mean a catastrophic disaster.
The COVID-19 disease, which is believed to have originated in China before spreading to the rest of the world, is still raging havoc with more than 119 million cases and 2.65 million deaths globally. Governments across the world have deployed vaccination programmes to bring the disease under control. So far, more than 345 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered worldwide, of which 78 million people have been fully vaccinated.