U.S. scientists announced the discovery of four new species of African bats of the family podkovirova. They are considered “cousins” of the family podkovonos, representatives in the scientific world considered as the most likely culprits for the emergence of a new coronavirus. According to the researchers, in a pandemic COVID-19 scientists need to pay more attention to the study of bats, as they are one of the most dangerous carriers of viruses.
Researchers from the Chicago Museum of natural history, the name of the field announced the discovery of at least four new species of African bats of the family podkovirova (Hipposideridae). Reported by the journal ZooKeys.
In a pandemic COVID-19 scientists decided to study better stored in a Museum the exhibits of this family. Podkovirova are considered “cousins” of the Chinese podkovonos mice that are the most likely sources overcome the species barrier of the novel coronavirus. Thus podkovirova have not been seen in the transmission of viruses to humans, experts say.
“In the case of COVID-19 we are dealing with a virus that rages among the people. It arose from podkovonos bats in China. In China 25 or 30 podkovonos bats, and no one can determine which is involved. Therefore, we have to learn more about them and their relatives”, — said the curator of the collection of mammals in the Museum of natural history Bruce Patterson.
To the surprise of scientists, genetic analysis of African individuals who were considered members of the same species, has established that they have different evolutionary history. This has led to the conclusion that they belong to different types, four of which previously the science was not known.
According to researchers, bats are among the most dangerous sources of proliferation of viruses. This is due to the size of their colonies, the number of which can reach up to 20 million individuals. Such crowding provides an ideal environment for transmission.
In addition, the body of bats is characterized by an increased stamina, a high metabolism and a strong immune system, thanks to which they can transfer pathogens and not get sick themselves.
In the opinion of the laboratory Patterson Terry Demos, participated in the study, further study of bats and their peculiarities will help prevent epidemics in the future.
“Bats carry the coronavirus, and it’s not just about the strain from which people suffer now. If we have more knowledge about these animals, we will be better prepared for such development of events,” he said.