Several social media posts are claiming that scientists from China’s Wuhan have warned of a new type of coronavirus, NeoCov in South Africa with a high death and transmission rate. We fact checked and found this claim to be False.
A social media post says “1 in 3 Die; Scientists from China’s Wuhan have warned of a new type of coronavirus #NeoCov in South Africa with a high death and transmission rate.”
The post can be found here and a screenshot is attached below.
Is NeoCov a new variant of Coronavirus?
No. NeoCov is not a new variant of Coronavirus. It was first discovered in 2012 and 2015 in the Middle Eastern countries. In 2014, scientists in South Africa determined the full genomic sequence of NeoCov, a coronavirus found in fecal material obtained from a South African Neoromicia capensis bat.
Is NeoCov having a high death rate among humans?
No. Till now there are no confirmed cases of NeoCov in humans. The only reason due to which it is creating panic among people is because the scientists found that 85% of NeoCov’s genome was identical at the nucleotide level to MERS-CoV, a virus transmitted to humans from dromedary camels which is known to have caused 858 deaths in 27 countries since 2012, a death rate of 35% according to the World Health Organization.
Is NeoCov having a high transmission rate?
No. Chinese researchers found that NeoCov enters bats’ cells through their ACE2 receptor. Humans also have an ACE2 receptor (hACE2) that interacts with viruses like SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease), but the study found NeoCov cannot interact with such a human hACE2 receptor. Whether the virus detected in the study will pose a risk for humans will require further study.
Neither NeoCoV is a ‘new’ virus nor it is a variant of COVID-19. Additionally, there have been no confirmed cases of NeoCoV in humans so far. Hence, the claim is false.
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