Thailand’s Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, and the Centre for Emerging Infectious Diseases, are researching whether Thailand’s “crowned bats” could carry or transmit the Covid-19 coronavirus. The chief of the department’s wildlife health management section says they went to a cave in in the eastern province of Chanthaburi, home to millions of the bats, to capture more than 100 of them on Thursday, to take samples of their blood, saliva and droppings for lab tests.
More about zoonotic diseases from the US CDC HERE.
He says there are about 23 types of crowned bats in Thailand, and this is the first time that they’ve been captured for tests. During the expedition, officials met with community leaders, teachers and students to educate them on how they can safely coexist with the bats and the risks of being infected if they eat bat meat.
A researcher at the Centre for Emerging Infectious Diseases at Chulalongkorn hospital, who was the first to identify Covid-19 in Thailand, says it’s necessary to study the bats because the strain of coronavirus in China is reportedly the same as that found in the local crowned bat species.
Although research on viruses in various species of bats has been underway for almost 2 decades in Thailand, she says crowned bats have not yet been studied.
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