An Israeli study called into question the role of bats in the origin of the virus

Des chercheurs israéliens innocentent la chauve-souris dans son implication dans l'émergence de la pandémie de Covid-19. © robdowner, Adobe Stock

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.

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[EN VIDÉO] A bat answers the ringing of the telephone
Researchers have trained bats that feed on the forest frog, Trachops cirrhosus, to associate a ringing telephone with a treat. Four years later, they still remember it. The video first shows an untrained bat writhing at the sound of a bell. Then comes the trained bat, which, at the sound of the phone ringing, goes to get its treat. Evidence that animals have long-term memory. © College of Natural Sciences

It has been more than two years since its inception International distribution We still don’t know the origin of Covid-19. Among the animals involved, the Bats They have a bad reputation as reservoirs of agents Pathogens virus including SARS-CoV-2.

Are bats really an animal reservoir of viruses?

A meta-analysis conducted by researchers at Tel Aviv University reveals several phenomena Mammals. ” When considering the interactions of bats VirusThe time seems ripe for a paradigm shift “, they write A study published in Science. 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.

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.pathogen of the virus Bat 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 immunityantibody,” Mostly without becoming a reservoir “, write the authors.

After immunity, their risk of relapse is variable Contagious, 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 Zoology 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 animals InsectsReplanting of deforested areas and cross-pollination of multiple crops.

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