Explainer: Why Bats Don't Get Sick From COVID

It turns out bats have better biology than ours for surviving the coronavirus.

    2020/07/15

NSFW    ROCHESTER, NEW YORK — Bats can be carriers of the coronavirus but they are themselves highly resistant to the disease. This quality could be linked to the longevity of bats, University of Rochester researchers say in a recent study in Cell Metabolism.

Writing for the team, the University of Rochester says an animal species's body mass typically corresponds to how long it may live. Bats are an exception to this rule and these small mammals may live to between 30 and 40 years.

Study co-author Vera Gorbunova says that a "haywire" inflammatory response to COVID is often the fatal factor that kills the patient, and not the virus itself. In comparison to humans, bat immune systems do not overreact to the coronavirus, which may contribute to their disease resistance and longevity.

Co-author Andrei Seluanov speculates that as flying animals, bats may have adapted to sudden changes in body temperature, metabolism surges and molecular damage. Furthermore, bats have lived in high population density habitats for much longer than humans have. This could make their immune systems better tuned for commutable diseases.
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