Hyderabad: Scientists finding Khosta-2, a kind of coronavirus which can infect humans, in Russian bats, has raised concerns globally on the possibility of the virus infecting humans. Experts admit that this is a possibility, but said there was no cause for alarm yet.
Dr Kiran Madhala, HoD, critical care department, Nizamabad government hospital, said many viruses have jumped from animals to humans, like the Ebola virus and monkeypox.
“As per WHO, almost 17 lakh viruses are present in animals and 50 per cent of these can infect humans. But viruses cannot directly infect humans, they have to mutate to do so and that may take a long time,” Dr Madhala said.
He said as per the WHO, viruses which posed a high risk of causing epidemics were those which are highly transmissible, have high variant density and low susceptibility to vaccines, mixed mortality and variable risk of long symptoms across all age groups.
President of infection control academy of India, Dr Ranga Reddy Burri, said, “I don’t see an alarm here because it is part and parcel of the scientific community to keep looking at viruses which inhabit animals. As of now Khosta-2 is just one of the millions of such viruses.”
Dr Burri said instances of viruses transmitting from animals to humans were on the rise due to an increase in exploitation of land and resources by humans, which have increased contact between humans and animals.