The bat has been in the dock since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, Israeli researchers believe there is insufficient evidence to charge him. Instead, the bat will mount a balanced immune response against viruses that have evolved over millions of years.
Are bats really an animal reservoir of viruses?
A meta-analysis conducted by researchers at Tel Aviv University reveals several phenomena . At first, they wondered if bats were actually reservoirs of viruses. A reservoir animal is defined as a population that can sustain a pathogen permanently and from which the infection can spread to target populations.. ” When considering the interactions of bats The time seems ripe for a paradigm shift “, they write
Although more than 100 bat-associated viruses have been identified as important Emerging and re-emerging human infections “, the researchers believe that there is no evidence to consider these animals as reservoirs. In 48% of cases, they found isolation. of the virus Not even done. Furthermore, simple isolation of the virus may not be sufficient to consider an animal as a reservoir, as there must also be an established route of transmission.
An effective immune system and Little biological hazard to humans »
According to the study, bats have highly efficient immune systems that allow them to better deal with various deadly viruses than other mammals. Bats have been evolving for powered flight for over 60 million years. Likewise, they resist viruses that have evolved over millions of years and show a moderate response during inflammatory processes. They then recover and become immune by developing a high level of immunity,” Mostly without becoming a reservoir “, write the authors.
” After immunity, their risk of relapse is variable, is weak. Transmission of viral pathogens can only occur if bats carry the same pathogenic virus as humans. However, many viruses carried by bats do not first infect humans without natural evolution, meaning that bats carry ancestral viruses that are not human pathogens. »
It cannot be ruled out that bats may have been carriers of an ancestral virus that may have become a pathogenic agent for humans at some point. However, Israeli researchers conclude that apart from a few viruses, bats pose little danger to man.
Instead, they focus on showing that bats’ unique antiviral immune capabilities should be better studied in order to fight our own diseases. It also plays an important role in the destruction of these animalsReplanting of deforested areas and cross-pollination of multiple crops.