Are bats really responsible for COVID-19?

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 Are bats really responsible for COVID-19?

More than two and a half years after COVID-19 was first detected in the world, researchers from Tel Aviv University conducted an analysis and established whether the virus was really to blame the bats. Experts said the link between the pandemic and flying mammals “was not based on sufficiently strong scientific evidence and has caused unnecessary stress and confusion around the world.”

“Bats have a highly effective immune system that allows it is relatively easy for them to deal with viruses considered fatal to other mammals,” they said.

The research team reviewed dozens of leading articles and studies in the field, and their findings were published in writing in the prestigious iScience journal titled “Paradigm Revision: Are bats really reservoirs of pathogens or do they have an efficient immune system?”.

The researchers explain that the “infamous reputation” bats are well known to both the scientific community and the general public, and that they are often accused of being “blood-sucking draculas”; and reservoirs of viruses, including COVID-19, thus posing a threat to public health. In a recently published study, an expert tried to refute this “erroneous theory”; and prove that bats play an important role in insect extermination, restoration of deforested areas and crop pollination.

Scientists argue that there is indeed evidence that the origin of the “ancient potential” Bats had COVID-19, “but on the other hand, until now, two years after the pandemic first broke out, we still don't know for sure what the exact origin of the COVID-19 variant is.”

“In general, bats are erroneously considered reservoirs of many infectious diseases just because they are serologically positive; in other words, they have antibodies, which means that the bats survived the disease and developed an immune response,” said Dr. Maya Weinberg, who led the study.

“After that, they completely overcame the virus and detached from it; therefore, they are no longer its bearers. However, in many cases a virus similar to that of humans can be found in bats; however, it is not pathogenic for humans and is not sufficient for the use of bats as a reservoir,” the expert noted.

In order to consider an animal a reservoir, a minimum number of index cases in which the virus has been isolated, as well as an established route of transmission, must be present. In addition, the mere discovery of a particular virus in bats does not necessarily guarantee further infection, for this there must be other biological, environmental and anthropogenic conditions,” the study says.

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