CanIndia News – Understanding how bats are resistant to Covid could help new treatments for humans

Studying bats’ responses to SARS-CoV-2 could provide important insights into how and when to best use existing treatments for Covid-19 and to develop new treatments, a review suggests.

The review, published in Science Immunology, examines how the virus that caused the current pandemic is wreaking havoc on the human immune system.

The review, led by Monash University, showed that the common ancestor of the current Covid virus most likely appeared in bats between the ages of 40 and 70, “although the exact bat species or intermediate host involved in the 2019 outbreak remains elusive.”

Bats are infected with the virus, but show minimal disease.

Although bats can infect each other with SARS-CoV-2, they show no clinical effects and do not exhibit the same lung problems that severely affect humans.

The team suggested that some of the ways bats appear to fight Covid could be used in treatments such as modulating the human immune response to the virus in ways bats appear to use, including stimulating type I and III interferon responses or — once they are serious. Disease progression – blocking inflammatory particles to mimic what happens in bats.

“Preventing or effectively treating progression to acute illness—in other words, mimicking bats—would significantly alleviate suffering and save lives,” said Monash University professor Marcel Nolde.

Since it was first identified in December 2019, the SARS-CoV-2 virus has mutated and the Alpha, Beta and Delta variants are more contagious than the original strain.

Specifically, the delta strain is again 60-79 percent more transmissible than the alpha mutation, and presumably more deadly, Nolde said.

He added that there was still “an urgent need for effective treatments, at least in part because of the emergence of mutations.”

The team warned that “preventing SARS-CoV-2 infection, or enabling patients to eliminate it, is the ultimate goal in the fight against Covid-19: but it is uncertain when both will reliably become possible.”

“Therefore, efforts to identify safe and effective treatments to prevent Covid from progressing to moderate and severe stages of disease are critical in controlling the disease,” Nold said.

This “may reduce the excessive inflammation, immune fatigue and cytokine storms that people experience,” Nold noted.

– Jans

rvt / dpb

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