Studying Bats to get clues to immunity, longevity in man
A team of researchers at the Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL) conducted an extensive research into bats and bat borne viruses, and their potential effects on the human population. Their study provides an insight into the evolution of the bat’s flight, resistance to viruses, and relatively long life. The team in collaboration with the Beijing Genome Institute, led a team that sequenced the genomes of two bat species.
Why Bats are being studied?
Bats are known to have survived for 65 million years against all adversities. They are widespread and one of the most abundant creatures. They have longer lives compared to animals of similar size and are known as natural reservoir for several lethal viruses , such as Hendra, Ebola and SARS, but they often don’t succumb to disease from these viruses. They adapt themselves to these odds. A deeper understanding of these evolutionary adaptations in bats may lead to better treatments for human diseases, and may eventually enable us to predict or perhaps even prevent outbreaks of emerging bat viruses. They may also hold clues about immunity and longevity.