Why bats carry so many diseases?-Like-Coronaviruses

Why bats carry so many diseases?-Like-Coronaviruses

So, why bats carry so many diseases?, like coronaviruses, Nipah, Hendra, Ebola, Marburg, SARS. These are some of the world’s scariest viruses. Hemorrhagic fevers like Ebola are extremely fatal – they kill up to 90 percent of people infected – while SARS, a coronavirus, has a lower mortality rate but spreads incredibly rapidly.

 All of these nasty pathogens have surfaced in humans in just the last 50 years, and they are all carried by bats. 

Which, to be very clear, really is not the bats’fault, the recent ongoing uplift in the outbreak is likely because of humans and our animals crawling ever-farther into bats' territory, and especially in the tropics.

In Malaysia, for example, the spread of commercial pig farms into bat-inhabited forests led to the first human outbreak - via pigs - of Nipah. What's more, is in Australia, human Hendra cases are cropping up as destruction of native forests forces fruit bats to feed in suburban gardens. 

But still: bats do appear to convey/take/carry more human-killing diseases than essentially some other creature. One main explanation is that, with a couple of notable exemptions, bats love the company of various different types of bats often perch together in big numbers and in close quarters, which can help viruses spread more and not just between individuals, but also between species.

Can bats survive from these many diseases?

What’s more, most infected bats don't — they live pretty normal bat lives,  flapping around and giving the viruses time to spread.

In fact, the flight may be the reason bats are so resilient to infection. As a rule, mammals can not produce a tremendous amount of energy needed for flight without also producing a lot of reactive waste products which can damage our DNA.

So, when our bat cousins got off the ground, they level up their in-battle DNA damage repair kits and other defenses, including specialized cells that keep viral invaders under tight restraints. 

So then bats can survive the deadly viruses - yet what may matter significantly more, for people at any rate,

how the viruses survive the bats?

 So, Nasty as they are, the most viruses are also extremely finicky — in order to thrive, they require the perfectly controlled climate inside a normal, resting, on-the-ground mammal.

But when bats get off the ground, their internal temperatures journey is to around 40°C. Those regular in-flight saunas are unreasonably toasty for your average virus, but a couple of tough viruses have advanced to tolerate the heat. Which, by chance, implies they can weather a pitiful human fever. Essentially, the flight may have helped bats gain virtual immunity to viruses AND trained viruses to be virtually immune to us. Stupid flying.

 So, what should we land-lubbers do? We need bats for insect control and pollination - and a whole bunch of other things - maybe we could even learn some immune tricks from them - like how to be really good at not getting cancer! And also, bats are not the biggest carriers of human diseases. Humans are - just do the math. Perhaps we should better leave bats alone and better try to control the spread of diseases carried by a different kind of flying mammal. 

Did This New Coronavirus Come From Bats?

 By now, you’ve probably heard of the coronavirus that's traveling the globe. The disease it’s causing, known as COVID-19, and the virus itself, known as SARS-COV-2, know no borders. And we’re still trying to grasp where it will end up next. 

So far, we know that the outbreak originated in Wuhan, China—but as of yet, how the outbreak began hasn’t been solved. We’ve heard seafood, snakes, and a whole host of conspiracy theories surrounding the virus's origin, but it seems that preliminary evidence may be pointing to an all-too-familiar source: bats. When you look at the genetic sequence of the virus, you can line it up against every other known coronavirus and say, 'what are its closest relatives?' It turns out that there are two viruses, one in particular that we found in China a few years ago, that's extremely closely related: about 96% of the genetic sequence lines up with this new virus. That virus came from bats.

 So that's really why people believe it's an about-origin virus. And this isn’t the first time bats have been identified as the potential source of an outbreak. In fact, studies have found that bats hosta a much higher proportion of zoonotic viruses than any other mammal, making them disease reservoirs. Viruses that cause Ebola, SARS, and MERS are all zoonotic, meaning they can cross from animals to humans.

 To better understand the zoonotic viruses, a researcher named Daszak and his team have worked to sample more than 10,000 bats in Southern China and most significantly, and then they found over more 500 new coronaviruses in the past ten years. Now, in order to understand how SARS-COV-2could potentially cross between species, researchers are looking at it on a cellular level. When we find Coronaviruses in bats in China, we analyze the proteins on the surface of those viruses and say, 

'are they able to bind to human cells?', and humans have cell surface receptors that viruses need to be able to bind to get in. And some of these bat viruses don't; some of them do. So, most likely this novel/new coronavirus already had that protein that could bind. Then it needs to successfully replicate. 

So how exactly can bats harbor all these viruses and not be affected? 

The answer could be in how bats evolved to fly. Bats are the only mammal capable of flying long distances and use a tremendous amount of energy to do so. But a byproduct of this high energy demand is believed to be an increased number of free radicals in cells, which in turn can damage a bat’s DNA.

 So to overcome these harmful effects, it seems that bats have evolved genes to dampen their immune response, so they don’t over-react to free radical damage caused by flight. Bats have a unique adaptation of their immune system which allows them to harbor viruses without these viruses causing any diseases. There's a lot of influenza viruses out there.

 And we harbor quite a few of them. They cause us no harm. And bats do exactly the same. And is only after spillover to humans that some of these viruses can cause illness in us. So while the bats may not get sick, when viruses make the jump to species without the same immune strength, like say, a human, mortality rates can be high. Environmental threats like deforestation could add to the animals' stress levels, causing them to shed more virus through their saliva, urine, and feces, which can later infect other mammals. 

So in these spillover events like the current coronavirus, a lot of focus often gets driven towards which species is responsible. But really, really important is to understand that it's about the construct that we've created an environment where humans are suddenly in contact with a lot of wildlife species in close quarters. And so this creates an environment where viruses can spill over.

 Bats may be the hosts to these viruses, but we can’t forget the crucial role that they play in regulating insect populations and as important pollinators, with many plants depending on them for their survival and propagation. Some of your favorite fruits like mangos, bananas, or guava wouldn’t exist if bats weren’t here. I really hope people don't start getting a more negative view of bats, but just because they're unlucky enough to carry some of these viruses. Keep in mind, our relationship with wildlife is the thing that allows those viruses to get in.. So you should think about that.

Hope you understand why bats carry so many diseases? and how they survive these and If you want to learn more about COVID-19, check out our video here. And if there's another aspect of COVID-19that you want to see us cover, let me know in the comments below.

And if you want to read what is coronavirus? then just ( click here )

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