General, Research, Technology

Why are bats considered ideal disease vectors?

According to the World Health Organization,Ebola virus and Marburg virus, which are on the list of the most dangerous pathogenic viruses known at the moment, were allegedly obtained from bats. In addition, they are also involved in the transmission of rabies, SARS, MEPC and, obviously, a new type of coronavirus, judging by the available studies. What makes bats so ideal viral incubators?

In Southeast Asia, Africa and Oceania, bats are eaten

Diseases caused by bats

As you know, bats are naturala source of rabies, but despite this very unpleasant feature, they pose no threat to humans. Representatives of bats in their habitat are not dangerous to humans, a great threat to human health arises only if they are eaten. However, in some countries, bat dishes are considered one of the main national dishes.

According to an article published on the, being interested in this feature of bats, scientists conducted a new study, during which they were able to study the immune system of bats and its response to various viruses. In their study, a team of scientists studied the infectivity of the virus on bat cell lines. As control cells, specialists used Vero cells, which were obtained from an African green monkey.

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Scientists noted that one of the most importantfeatures in the immune response of bats is the lightning-fast production of a signal molecule, which is commonly called interferon-alpha, launched in response to the virus. While the proteins of interferon are secreted by virus-infected cells, nearby cells become protective.

Thanks to the efficient functioning of the immune system, bats are not threatened by dangerous viruses and their associated diseases.

During the experiment, cell structureswere exposed to various kinds of pathogenic microorganisms that mimic the Ebola and Marburg viruses. While monkey cells were quickly overwhelmed by a viral attack, bat cells actively resisted a virus attack due to ultrafast interferon signaling. It turned out that due to the effective operation of immune signaling systems that prevent cell death, the body of bats is a stable and effective system in the fight against dangerous viruses. Be that as it may, with the help of interferon, viruses have to remain in the bat's body, where they are forced to adapt and develop, mutating into increasingly powerful and infectious types of viruses.

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Since an effective immune system is volatilemice can repel a viral attack, the viruses themselves are “improved” in order to overcome the barrier posed by a living organism. Then, when the virus is transmitted to any of the living creatures, the infected person’s immune system does not withstand the onslaught of the amplified virus, which ultimately leads to the development and spread of dangerous diseases around the world.

Scientists noted that alpha interferon,the person also has an ultrafast response to the protective systems of the body’s cells, but they still have to figure out why it does not have the same effect as representatives of the bats family. Experts suggest that the antiviral response caused by interferon in humans is unlikely to have only a positive effect, since a viral infection could flow into a latent form, following the same mutation path, as in the case of bats.