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Coronavirus in Indian Bats: ICMR study found Coronavirus in two species of Indian bats

It is the first time that coronavirus has been found in Indian bats. The two species of the bats are the Indian Flying Fox and Rousettes (old world fruit bats).

Apr 16, 2020 13:00 IST
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In a study done by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Institute of Virology, pathogenic coronaviruses have been found in two species of Indian bats.

As per the study, it is the first time that coronavirus has been found in Indian bats. The two species of the bats are the Indian Flying Fox and Rousettes (old world fruit bats).

The officials have also mentioned that it will be too early to predict whether these viruses will affect humans. For the study, samples were collected from 25 species of bats from all over the country.

Objective of the study:

The study on Indian bats carried out by the premier medical institution aims to study and research the presence of coronaviruses in bats. The study will help in identifying those viruses that have the potential of an epidemic.

Study on Indian Bats: Key Highlights

For the study, 78 samples of Rousettus bats and 508 samples of the Indian Flying Fox were taken.

21 samples of the Indian flying fox and four samples of the Rousettus were found to be positive.

In 2018 and 2019, samples of these bats were collected from the forests in Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Odisha, Gujarat, Punjab, Chandigarh, Puducherry, and Telangana.

Rousettus bats that were tested positive were from Kerala. While 12 from 21 positive Indian flying box bats were also from the state.

Out of the remaining 9 positive Indian flying fox bats, two were from Himachal Pradesh, six were from Puducherry and one from Tamil Nadu.

The study also stated that only rectal swabs were tested positive in the bats while all the throat swabs were tested negative.

ICMR will also test two more species of the bats.

Background:

Bats are known to be hosts of various viruses and some of them can have a deadly impact on humans. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is also thought to be originated in bats and then was transferred to human beings.

The study and research on the bats will help in understanding the origination of such viruses which will further guide in the treatments and measures to avoid pandemics in the future.

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