Scientists in New Zealand have identified two new coronavirus strains in bats, which have an infection rate of more than 60% in some species. The scientific community has proven that many of the diseases plaguing the modern world originated in animal reservoirs. Bats, in particular, are a rich source of zoonotic diseases due to their unique immune system capabilities.
Therefore, studying the viruses present in bat populations will help the world prepare for future pandemics. “Bats from temperate countries have a peculiar physiology such as torpor (a decrease in body temperature and metabolism) that may increase their susceptibility to the virus,” said Pablo Tortosa, an infectious and tropical disease researcher at the University of La Réunion. Report to ‘Newsweek’ magazine.
“New Zealand’s insularity is interesting from an evolutionary perspective – these bats and their viruses have not interacted with other bats for millions of years, which provides an excellent framework for studying the long-term evolution of viruses, including the coronavirus,” he said.
SARS-CoV-2 – responsible for the Covid-19 pandemic – is one of several strains of coronavirus that can be classified into four groups: alphacoronavirus, betacoronavirus, gammacoronavirus and deltacoronavirus.
“All the coronaviruses that have led to major human pandemics — for example, SARS and MERS — are betacoronaviruses,” said Tortosa, whose team studied the presence of coronavirus strains in two endemic bat species: the short-tailed bat and the short-tailed bat long-tailed, two new isolates of alphacoronavirus. Discovered genealogies.
The incidence of the coronavirus was very low in short-tailed bats, but more than 60% of those sampled in long-tailed bats were infected.
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