Revising the paradigm: Are bats really pathogen reservoirs or do they possess an efficient immune system?

Maya Weinberg, Yossi Yovel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

While bats are often referred to as reservoirs of viral pathogens, a meta-analysis of the literature reveals many cases in which there is not enough evidence to claim so. In many cases, bats are able to confront viruses, recover, and remain immune by developing a potent titer of antibodies, often without becoming a reservoir. In other cases, bats might have carried an ancestral virus that at some time point might have mutated into a human pathogen. Moreover, bats exhibit a balanced immune response against viruses that have evolved over millions of years. Using genomic tools, it is now possible to obtain a deeper understanding of that unique immune system and its variability across the order Chiroptera. We conclude, that with the exception of a few viruses, bats pose little zoonotic danger to humans and that they operate a highly efficient anti-inflammatory response that we should strive to understand.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104782
JournaliScience
Volume25
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - 19 Aug 2022

Keywords

  • Immunology
  • Virology

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