We know researchers around the world are possibly speculating bats as the possible source of the SARS-CoV-2, which is responsible for the pandemic. This is not the only first time, as similar coronaviruses like the MERS and the SARS-CoV, also thought to have originated from bats. So if bats carry the virus within themselves, why do they not get infected and are apparently healthy? A new study published in the Scientific Reports will help us try to find answers to these questions.
The study essentially shows us the fact that MERS-CoV can coexist with the bat cells in vitro without any effects for months. As we know, this virus is known to cause fatal infection in people, but such a scenario is noticed in bats. Instead, the virus and the bat cells go into a state of mutual understanding, thanks to the bats’ super-powered immune system, which plays a vital role. The authors think SARS-CoV-2 in bats could possibly co-exist in the same way.
The study was performed on insectivorous bat kidney cell lines. When injected, it is seen that MERS-CoV quickly adapts to the cellular environment. This shows how coronavirus can quickly adapt to their hosts, said one of the experts. While infecting the bat’s cells did not activate the conventional inflammatory responses against the virus-like other mammals. Instead, it maintained a natural antiviral response, which helped the virus to replicate inside the bat cells. This co-existence remained for longer periods of time until the natural equilibrium got disrupted, and such stresses could be the possible reason why viruses like SARS-CoV-2 could have led to the shifting of hosts from bats to humans.
The team plans further to study the effect of MERS-CoV in Camelids and humans. This could possibly tell us more about coronaviruses as a whole. Further studies are also needed to show that this in-vitro mechanism is surely occurring in nature.
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