University of Cambridge > > Departmental Seminar Programme, Department of Veterinary Medicine > Bats and viruses: enemies or friends?

Bats and viruses: enemies or friends?

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Bats of many different species appear to live symbiotically with a range of viruses. In recent years it has become clear that some of these viruses (such as Ebola, SARS , Hendra and Nipah viruses) can pose a significant risk to animals and humans when switching host from the bat to another species. In order to manage this threat it is necessary to understand the nature of the relationship between the bat and the virus, what drives the “spill over” event, and the disease that is likely in the “new” host. This requires not only determining what particular viruses might reside in various bat populations, but gaining insight into the immune system of bats, where the virus is found and what factors might alter this apparent uneventful co-existence. The concept of “good virus” and the evolutionary advantage that viruses may have on bats will be explored in the context of virus-host co-evolution. It is believed that a better understanding of virus-bat interaction may also lead to development of novel anti-viral strategies for use in livestock animals and humans.

This talk is part of the Departmental Seminar Programme, Department of Veterinary Medicine series.

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