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Des chercheurs israéliens innocentent la chauve-souris dans son implication dans l'émergence de la pandémie de Covid-19. © Dominique Bidon, Fotolia

Bats are not the cause of SARS-CoV-2 according to an Israeli study

The bat has been in the dock since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, Israeli researchers believe that there is not enough evidence to convict him. Conversely, the bat would present a balanced immune response against viruses that have evolved over millions of years.

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[EN VIDÉO] The bat answers the phone’s ringing
The researchers trained a bat that eats wild frogs, Trachops cirrhosus, to associate a ringing phone with a treat. Four years later, they still remember her. The video first shows an untrained bat writhing at the sound of the bell. Then comes the trained bat who goes to get his treat when the phone rings. Evidence that the animal has a long-term memory. © Faculty of Natural Sciences

More than two years after the outbreak of the pandemic COVID-19, we still do not know for sure its origin. Among the animals involved bat Bad reputation, considered lockers for agents Pathogens Viral, including SARS-CoV-2.

Are bats really an animal reservoir for viruses?

a dimensional analysis conducted by researchers at Tel Aviv University reveal many cases in which, they say, there is insufficient evidence to accuse these Mammals. ” When considering the interaction of bats with virusLooks like it’s time for a paradigm shift “, they write The study was published in iScience. First, they wondered if bats were really reservoirs of viruses. A reservoir animal is defined as a population in which the pathogen can be permanently preserved and from which the infection is transmitted to the target population.

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Although more than 100 viruses associated with bats have been identified as important Emerging human casualties and re-emergence The researchers believe that evidence is lacking to consider these animals as reservoirs. They found that in 48% of cases, they were isolatedpathogens from the virus a bat It is not even done. Furthermore, simple isolation of the virus would not be sufficient to consider the animal as a reservoir because there must also be a stable route of transmission.

effective immune system Low zoonotic risk to humans »

According to the study, bats have a highly efficient immune system that allows them to better deal with a variety of deadly viruses compared to other mammals. It’s been 60 million years since bats evolved to adapt to robotic flight. Likewise, they encounter viruses that have evolved over millions of years and show a moderate response during inflammatory processes. They then recover and remain immune by developing a high level ofantibodyOften without becoming a tank ‘, write the authors.

after, after’immunity, the risk of relapse, to the point of becoming contagious, is low. The spread of viral pathogens can only occur if bats harbor the same virus as the human pathogen. However, many of the viruses carried by bats cannot infect humans without first undergoing a natural evolution process, which means that bats carry ancestral viruses and not the human pathogen. »

The possibility that bats were carriers of an ancestral virus that may, at some point, have mutated into a human pathogen cannot be excluded. However, Israeli researchers concluded that with the exception of a few viruses, bats pose little danger animal origin for the man.

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Instead, they focus on showing that bats’ unique antiviral immune capabilities need to be better studied in order to combat our diseases. These animals also play an important role in extermination insectsReplant deforested areas and pollinate a number of crops.

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