A review suggests that studying bat responses to SARS-CoV-2 could provide important insights into how and when to best use existing treatments for Covid-19 and to develop new treatments.
The review, published in Science Immunology, examines how the virus that has caused the current pandemic is wreaking havoc on the human immune system.
The review, led by Monash University, showed that the common ancestor of the current Covid-19 virus most likely appeared in bats between the ages of 40 and 70, “although the exact type of bat or intermediate host involved in the 2019 outbreak remains elusive.”
Bats get infected with the virus, but show minimal disease.
Although bats can infect each other with SARS-CoV-2, they do not show any clinical effects and do not exhibit the same lung problems that severely affect humans.
The team suggested that some of the ways bats appear to fight Covid could be used in treatments such as modulating the human immune response to the virus in ways that bats seem to use, including stimulating type I and III interferon responses or — once this happens. Grand. Disease progression – blocking inflammatory molecules to mimic what happens in bats.
“Preventing progression to acute disease or effectively treating it – in other words, mimicking bats – would alleviate suffering and save lives dramatically,” said Professor Marcel Nolde of Monash University.
Since it was first identified in December 2019, SARS-CoV-2 has mutated and the Alpha, Beta and Delta variants are more contagious than the original strain.
Specifically, the delta strain became 60-79 percent more transmissible than the alpha mutation, and presumably more lethal, Nold said.
He added that there was still an “urgent need for effective treatments, at least in part because of the emergence of mutations”.
The team cautioned that “preventing SARS-CoV-2 infection, or enabling patients to eliminate it, is the ultimate goal in the fight against Covid-19: but it is uncertain when both will become reliably possible.”
“Therefore, efforts to identify safe and effective treatments to prevent Covid from progressing to moderate and severe stages of the disease are critical in controlling the disease,” Nold said.
This “may reduce the excessive inflammation, immune fatigue, and cellular storms that people experience,” Nold noted.
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