Study shows coronavirus presence in two Indian bats: ICMR StudyTop Stories

April 16, 2020 12:12
Study shows coronavirus presence in two Indian bats: ICMR Study

While researchers are consistently working day in and day out to find a legitimate vector for the novel coronavirus, there has been no significant breakthrough yet.

Indian researchers have come across a new type of coronavirus, the bat coronavirus in two specific bat species in Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Puducherry and Tamil Nadu. The study has been conducted by the researchers from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

But, there has been no specific evidence as to whether or not these bat coronaviruses are the same ones as found in the novel coronavirus that the entire world is fighting against. They are still not sure whether these bats can transmit the virus and cause any disease in the humans, said Dr Pragya D Yadav, who is the first author of the study and a scientist at the National Institute of Virology.

The researchers tested Rousettus and Pteropus species of bats and the same tested positive for the BtCoV in the subsequent states that we have mentioned prior in the article.

“These bat coronaviruses have no relation with SARS-CoV2 responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Yadav when asked about its mode of transmission and correlation with the current global pandemic.

It isn’t a new thing that bats are considered one of the most common pathogens for viruses, some of which are even human pathogens. The Pteropus bat has been priorly associated with the Nipah virus which killed a number of people in Kerala.

The researchers for the current coronavirus have stated that they do associate the bats as a vector with the novel coronavirus that has been infecting people across the world.

The objective of the study stated saying, “In the present scenario of changing demography and ecological manipulations, it is challenging to have checks on the encounters of bats with other animals and humans.”

The researchers also clarified that the CoV in their primary hosts like the bats do not show any possible clinical signs or symptoms but the same gets worse when there is an accidental transmission to a human or another animal.

Surrounding these findings, the scientists have also stressed on the immediate need for the proactive surveillance of the infection in bats.

Apart from the detection and the surveillance of these viruses found in the bats, the same also demands and requires immediate cross sectional antibody survey to further get a better understanding of things surrounding this.

The researchers also emphasised on the need of the evidence based surveillance in case there is an epidemiological situation that demands it at the moment.

Dr Yadav further stated saying, “In conclusion, our study showed detection of bat CoVs in two species of Indian bats. Continuous active surveillance is required to identify the emerging novel viruses with epidemic potential.”

Further concluding and elaborating on the same, Dr Yadav said that throat and rectal swab samples of Rousettus and Pteropus have been screened from seven different states in the country from which only the ones found in Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Puducherry and Tamil Nadu tested positive for the virus.

The mode of screening that was used for the study was the reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests and sequencing.

Since there is a lot more that these researchers need to find, this is an ongoing study at the moment.

By Somapika Dutta

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ICMR  bats  nipah virus  coronavirus  pandemic