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During the past two decades, three zoonotic coronaviruses have been identified as the cause of large-scale disease outbreaks⁻Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), and Swine Acute Diarrhea Syndrome (SADS). SARS and MERS emerged in 2003 and 2012, respectively, and caused a worldwide pandemic that claimed thousands of human lives, while SADS struck the swine industry in 2017. They have common characteristics, such as they are all highly pathogenic to humans or livestock, their agents originated from bats, and two of them originated in China. Thus, it is highly likely that future SARS- or MERS-like coronavirus outbreaks will originate from bats, and there is an increased probability that this will occur in China. Therefore, the investigation of bat coronaviruses becomes an urgent issue for the detection of early warning signs, which in turn minimizes the impact of such future outbreaks in China. The purpose of the review is to summarize the current knowledge on viral diversity, reservoir hosts, and the geographical distributions of bat coronaviruses in China, and eventually we aim to predict virus hotspots and their cross-species transmission potential.
Bat Coronaviruses in China.
Coronaviruses (CoVs) of bat origin have caused two pandemics in this century. Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-CoV and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS)-CoV both originated from bats, and it is highly likely that bat coronaviruses will cause future outbreaks. Active surveillance is both urgent and essential to predict and mitigate the emergence of these viruses in humans. Next-generation sequencing (NGS) is currently the preferred methodology for virus discovery to ensure unbiased sequencing of bat CoVs, considering their high genetic diversity. However, unbiased NGS is an expensive methodology and is prone to missing low-abundance CoV sequences due to the high background level of nonviral sequences present in surveillance field samples. Here, we employ a capture-based NGS approach using baits targeting most of the CoV species. Using this technology, we effectively reduced sequencing costs by increasing the sensitivity of detection. We discovered nine full genomes of bat CoVs in this study and revealed great genetic diversity for eight of them.
Discovery of Bat Coronaviruses through Surveillance and Probe Capture-Based Next-Generation Sequencing
Bats carry lots of deadly viruses, like Nipah, Marburg, Sars and Ebola, without suffering from ill-effects.
And Prof Peng Zhou, from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, was intrigued by this resilience.
"We were interested why and how bats’ immune systems could deal with so many deadly viruses," he told BBC News.
Mutation 'gives bats edge over deadly viruses'
Bats are known to harbor highly pathogenic viruses like Ebola, Marburg, Hendra, Nipah, and SARS-CoV, and yet they do not show clinical signs of disease. In a paper published in the journal Cell Host & Microbe on February 22, scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China find that in bats, an antiviral immune pathway called the STING-interferon pathway is dampened, and bats can maintain just enough defense against illness without triggering a heightened immune reaction.
"We believe there is a balance between bats and the pathogens they carry," says senior author Peng Zhou. "This work demonstrated that in order to maintain a balance with viruses, bats may have evolved to dampen certain pathways."
How bats carry viruses without getting sick
Bats carry and transmit some of the world’s deadliest zoonotic viruses: Ebola, Marburg, Nipah, and the pathogen behind severe acute respiratory syndrome, SARS coronavirus, to name a few. What has puzzled researchers for a long time is why bats don’t appear to get sick from their unusually high microbial loads. The question has been nagging Peng Zhou, a virologist at China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology, for more than a decade, ever since he took part in a survey of bat populations in southern China. Zhou and his colleagues were looking for the strain of the SARS coronavirus responsible for the 2003 outbreak that sickened more than 8,000 people worldwide and killed nearly 800. “We started to think, why bats?” he says.
Why Bats Make Such Good Viral Hosts
coronavirus (one which may have originally been obtained from Canada), was released by Wuhan’s Institute of Virology (accidentally or not), a top, level-4 biohazard lab which was studying “the world’s most dangerous pathogens“, perhaps it would be a good idea for the same Wuhan Institute of Virology to remove the following “help wanted” notice, posted on November 18, 2019, according to which the institute is seeking to hire one or two post-doc fellows, who will use “bats to research the molecular mechanism that allows Ebola and SARS-associated coronaviruses to lie dormant for a long time without causing diseases.”
Is This The Man Behind The Global Coronavirus Pandemic?
In 2005, a group including researchers from the Wuhan Institute of Virology published research into the origin of the SARS coronavirus, finding that China's horseshoe bats are natural reservoirs of SARS-like coronaviruses. Continuing this work over a period of years, researchers from the Institute sampled thousands of horseshoe bats in locations across China, isolating over 300 bat coronavirus sequences.
In 2015, the Institute published successful research on whether a bat coronavirus could be made to infect HeLa. A team from the Institute engineered a hybrid virus, combining a bat coronavirus with a SARS virus that had been adapted to grow in mice and mimic human disease. The hybrid virus was able to infect human cells.
Wuhan Institute of Virology - Coronavirus research
HeLa (also Hela or hela) is an immortal cell line used in scientific research. It is the oldest and most commonly used human cell line. The line was derived from cervical cancer cells taken on February 8, 1951 from Henrietta Lacks, a patient who died of cancer on October 4, 1951. The cell line was found to be remarkably durable and prolific, which gives rise to its extensive use in scientific research.
The cells from Lacks's cancerous cervical tumor were taken without her knowledge or consent, which was common practice at the time. Cell biologist George Otto Gey found that they could be kept alive, and developed a cell line. Previously, cells cultured from other human cells would only survive for a few days. Scientists would spend more time trying to keep the cells alive than performing actual research on them. Cells from Lacks' tumor behaved differently.
These were the first human cells grown in a lab that were naturally "immortal", meaning that they do not die after a set number of cell divisions (i.e. cellular senescence). These cells could be used for conducting a multitude of medical experiments—if the cells died, they could simply be discarded and the experiment attempted again on fresh cells from the culture.
The stable growth of HeLa enabled a researcher at the University of Minnesota hospital to successfully grow polio virus, enabling the development of a vaccine, and by 1952, Jonas Salk developed a vaccine for polio using these cells. To test Salk's new vaccine, the cells were put into mass production in the first-ever cell production factory.
In 1953, HeLa cells were the first human cells successfully cloned and demand for the HeLa cells quickly grew in the nascent biomedical industry. Since the cells' first mass replications, they have been used by scientists in various types of investigations including disease research, gene mapping, effects of toxic substances on organisms, and radiation on humans.
originally posted by: wdkirk
Dead bat not properly disposed of in the dumpsters at the Wuhan lab.....after some dumpster diving done by the locals to make money.....the bat shows up in the wet market down the street.
However if that's the place with the most of a certain virus it makes sense to study it there, and also for it to mutate there naturally.
He received his PhD in Wuhan Virus Research Institute in 2010 and has worked on bat virus and immunology in Australia and Singapore. In 2009 , he took the lead in starting the research on the immune mechanism of bat long-term carrying and transmitting virus in the world.
After graduating from the PhD, he entered the Australian Animal Health Laboratory and became the first person in the global bat immunity research. “I went through 4 years of trial and error, groped in the dark, and hit the South Wall numerous times. I still remember a ‘darkest moment’ ‘In the local cold winter, I was holding the frostbite knee, sitting at the beach, and asking myself why this was the case.’
He began to learn Australian jokes and inspired himself. In 2016, during postdoctoral studies at Duke University-National University of Singapore Medical School, he was concerned that a certain interferon in bats is always maintained at a high level. This paper became the cover article of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, “Bat Immunity“
After returning to China in 2016, Zhou Peng returned to his alma mater to become a little-known young researcher. “In the long run, bats carry the virus without getting sick. It is hoped that humans can learn how to fight the virus, but this is still far from industrialization. Far, the road ahead is long, and we must remain ‘super confident’ and continue to move forward.“