Thai researchers are claiming that horseshoe bats are not responsible for transmitting the Covid virus to humans. Supaporn Wacharapluesadee, a researcher with the Thai Red Cross Emerging Infectious Diseases-Health Science Centre, says hat even though the bats have tested for a coronavirus, it is not the strain that is transmissible to humans.
“They are in the same family [of coronaviruses], but they do not cause Covid-19. As of now, there is no evidence to show that the strain we found in bats [in Chachoengsao] can be transmitted to humans.”
Supaporn is an expert on emerging infectious diseases in bats and made the statement after a Russian news agency claimed that researchers found a new strain of coronaviruses in a Thai bat colony which closely resembles the Sars-CoV-2 virus that causes Covid-19.
Supaporn admitted that a research team from the Thai Red Cross Emerging Infectious Diseases-Health Science Centre is studying emerging pandemic threats in bat populations, she said the study’s findings were misrepresented.
Rungnapar Pattanavibool, deputy chief of the DNP, says the department is aware that wild animals can transmit diseases to humans and they are working with other agencies to check imported animals for such diseases.
But Supaporn insists that public fears over the horseshoe bats are unwarranted as she says there is no evidence that the bats carrying a similar strain of Covid can transmit the strain to humans. The new strain’s genetic code does, however, feature a 91.5% match with Sars-CoV-2.
And, that’s not to say the bats cannot spread other strains of coronaviruses as scientists say it is likely that bats across Asia are doing the same thing. Infectious diseases such as SARS, MERS, Hendra, Ebola and Nipah, are thought to have emerged from bats, making research into Asian bats all the more necessary.
SOURCE: Bangkok Post
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