Caister Academic Press

Are Bats 'Special'?

Aaron T. Irving and Lin-Fa Wang
from: Bats and Viruses: Current Research and Future Trends (Edited by: Eugenia Corrales-Aguilar and Martin Schwemmle). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2020) Pages: 213-222.


Although bats have been associated with viruses for more than a century, they have attracted increased attention in the last two decades as an important reservoir of many new viruses. This was largely because of the discovery of different highly lethal zoonotic viruses originating from bats, including Hendra, Nipah, SARS, MERS, Ebola and Marburg viruses, among many others as detailed in the previous chapters. Although the notion of bats as the natural reservoir is still being debated for some of these viruses, it is beyond any doubt that bats at least harbour viruses highly related to all of these. The research focus has largely shifted from 'Are bats a true reservoir?' to 'Are bats special?' In this chapter, a brief review will be provided on the various aspects supporting the observation that bats are special or unusual and, as such, an excellent host of many different viruses, many of which have proven spillover potential with high lethality in alternative hosts
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