Bat Examples Give Insights to Virus Immunity

The Financial Times has published a very interesting article on how bats are somehow carriers of coronaviruses that, in turn, spread them and how the animal’s immune systems can be used to develop methods for humans to ward viruses off.

What bats can teach us about developing immunity to Covid-19

Efforts to develop effective drugs or vaccines depend on understanding how the virus outwits the immune system

Clive Cookson, Anna Gross and Ian Bott, September 8, 2020, Financial Times

Viruses love bats. The flying nocturnal mammals make outstanding hosts because — just like people — they live in large, dense groups, their air travel spreads germs between populations and their longevity enables a virus to persist for years in an individual animal.

The big difference is that bats’ remarkable immune system tames and tolerates many viruses that cause havoc when they spread to humans, including the coronavirus responsible for Covid-19.“

We should look at what bats are doing to control the virus and emulate that in some way,” says Bernard Crespi, professor of evolutionary biology at Simon Fraser University in Canada, one of a growing group of scientists finding clues to the pandemic through bat immunology.

Immunology lies at the heart of scientific and medical investigation of Covid-19. Every effort to explain the extraordinarily varied course of the disease, to treat it with drugs and prevent it with vaccines, depends on understanding how the virus outwits the human immune system — or vice versa.


PHOTO CREDIT: Big eared townsend bat – By PD-USGov, exact author unknown –, Public Domain,