Srinagar, Jan 29: With apprehensions among people about newly discovered coronavirus, called NeoCov, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Saturday said there is no need to panic as the virus is confined to animals and does not cause human infection.
“NeoCov has been found in bats and in its current form there is no threat of the virus jumping from bats to humans,” said DAK President and Influenza expert Dr Nisar ul Hassan.
Dr Hassan said NeoCov is not a new virus nor is it a variant of Covid-19. It was first identified around 2013 in bats in South Africa, while looking for the origin of MERS, a coronaviral disease that was first identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012.
“There has been no confirmed case of NeoCov in humans so far,” he said.
The DAK President said news reports about NeoCov virus’s potential to kill one of every three infected persons are doing the rounds on the internet for the last couple of days. The news is based on a preprint paper by Chinese researchers.
“However, there is little connection between the paper and inference that have been drawn by news reports,” he said.
“The researchers clearly say that the virus which exists in bats cannot infect humans except in case the virus undergoes a particular type of mutation which is a mere speculation,” said Dr Nisar.
“The idea that NeoCov may be able to infect human beings is in the realms of theory and should not be a cause of concern,” he said.
General Secretary DAK Dr Arshad Ali said coronaviruses are often found in animals, including bats which have been identified as a natural reservoir of many of these viruses.
“Not everything jumps to humans and there is no way of predicting anything,” he said.
“It is important that we must continue surveillance of zoonotic pathogens as the likelihood of potential spillover events from animals to humans is possible,” he added.