Caister Academic Press

In Vivo Models of Infection

Tony Schountz
from: Bats and Viruses: Current Research and Future Trends (Edited by: Eugenia Corrales-Aguilar and Martin Schwemmle). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2020) Pages: 181-190.


Chiroptera represents the second largest family of mammals, with more than 1200 species. Bats are reservoir, or suspected reservoir, hosts of several important human and livestock pathogens, including ebolaviruses, marburgviruses, SARS and MERS coronaviruses, Nipah and Hendra viruses, and rabies virus and other lyssaviruses. Hundreds of other viruses from many families have been detected in bats, principally via sequencing of viral genomes in samples, suggesting bats may be among the most important sources of zoonotic agents. Despite their importance, virtually nothing is known about infection dynamics in bats, nor how bat immune systems engage these viruses without apparent disease. These limitations are principally due to the lack of breeding colonies of bats, which limits experimental infection studies. Many challenges must be overcome to establish such colonies, including their high cost, requirement for specialised facilities, and competent animal care staff and veterinarians. In addition, the low fecundity of bats, with one to three offspring per year, depending on the species, constrains use of bats and can result in small experimental sample sizes. In recent years, several groups have begun to rectify this deficiency by establishing closed colonies of bats. These colonies will become valuable resources for the examination of bat-borne viruses and will shed light on viral ecology, bat immune responses, and mechanisms of disease resistance read more ...
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