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J Am Assoc Lab Anim Sci ; 61(4): 344-352, 2022 Jul 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1893665


Bats are known natural reservoirs of several highly pathogenic zoonotic viruses, including Hendra virus, Nipah virus, rabies virus, SARS-like coronaviruses, and suspected ancestral reservoirs of SARS-CoV-2 responsible for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The capacity to survive infections of highly pathogenic agents without severe disease, together with many other unique features, makes bats an ideal animal model for studying the regulation of infection, cancer, and longevity, which is likely to translate into human health outcomes. A key factor that limits bat research is lack of breeding bat colonies. To address this need, a captive bat colony was established in Singapore from 19 wild-caught local cave nectar bats. The bats were screened for specific pathogens before the start of captive breeding. Custom-made cages and an optimized diet inclusive of Wombaroo dietary formula, liquid diet, and supplement of fruits enabled the bats to breed prolifically in our facility. Cages are washed daily and disinfected once every fortnight. Bats are observed daily to detect any sick bat or abnormal behavior. In addition, bats undergo a thorough health check once every 3 to 4 mo to check on their overall wellbeing, perform sampling, and document any potential pregnancy. The current colony houses over 80 bats that are successfully breeding, providing a valuable resource for research in Singapore and overseas.

COVID-19 , Chiroptera , Animals , Breeding , Disease Reservoirs , Humans , Pandemics , Phylogeny , Plant Nectar , SARS-CoV-2 , Singapore
Zool Res ; 43(4): 514-522, 2022 Jul 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1856595


Bats are reservoirs of various viruses. The widely distributed cave nectar bat ( Eonycteris spelaea) is known to carry both filoviruses and coronaviruses. However, the potential transmission of theses bat viruses to humans is not fully understood. In this study, we tracked 16 E. spelaea bats in Mengla County, Yunnan Province, China, using miniaturized GPS devices to investigate their movements and potential contact with humans. Furthermore, to determine the prevalence of coronavirus and filovirus infections, we screened for the nucleic acids of the Menglà virus (MLAV) and two coronaviruses (GCCDC1-CoV and HKU9-CoV) in anal swab samples taken from bats and for antibodies against these viruses in human serum samples. None of the serum samples were found to contain antibodies against the bat viruses. The GPS tracking results showed that the bats did not fly during the daytime and rarely flew to residential areas. The foraging range of individual bats also varied, with a mean cumulative nightly flight distance of 25.50 km and flight speed of up to 57.4 km/h. Taken together, these results suggest that the risk of direct transmission of GCCDC1-CoV, HKU9-CoV, and MLAV from E. spelaea bats to humans is very low under natural conditions.

Chiroptera , Coronavirus Infections , Viruses , Animals , China/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/veterinary , Humans , Phylogeny , Plant Nectar