Possibility for reverse zoonotic transmission of SARS-CoV-2 to free-ranging wildlife: a case study of bats

Olival, K. J. et al. (2020) Possibility for reverse zoonotic transmission of SARS-CoV-2 to free-ranging wildlife: a case study of bats. PLoS Pathogens, 16(9), e1008758. (doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1008758) (PMID:32881980) (PMCID:PMC7470399)

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The COVID-19 pandemic highlights the substantial public health, economic, and societal consequences of virus spillover from a wildlife reservoir. Widespread human transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) also presents a new set of challenges when considering viral spillover from people to naïve wildlife and other animal populations. The establishment of new wildlife reservoirs for SARS-CoV-2 would further complicate public health control measures and could lead to wildlife health and conservation impacts. Given the likely bat origin of SARS-CoV-2 and related beta-coronaviruses (β-CoVs), free-ranging bats are a key group of concern for spillover from humans back to wildlife. Here, we review the diversity and natural host range of β-CoVs in bats and examine the risk of humans inadvertently infecting free-ranging bats with SARS-CoV-2. Our review of the global distribution and host range of β-CoV evolutionary lineages suggests that 40+ species of temperate-zone North American bats could be immunologically naïve and susceptible to infection by SARS-CoV-2. We highlight an urgent need to proactively connect the wellbeing of human and wildlife health during the current pandemic and to implement new tools to continue wildlife research while avoiding potentially severe health and conservation impacts of SARS-CoV-2 "spilling back" into free-ranging bat populations.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Streicker, Professor Daniel
Authors: Olival, K. J., Cryan, P. M., Amman, B. R., Baric, R. S., Blehert, D. S., Brook, C. E., Calisher, C. H., Castle, K. T., Coleman, J. T.H., Daszak, P., Epstein, J. H., Field, H., Frick, W. F., Gilbert, A. T., Hayman, D. T.S., Ip, H. S., Karesh, W. B., Johnson, C. K., Kading, R. C., Kingston, T., Lorch, J. M., Mendenhall, I. H., Peel, A. J., Phelps, K. L., Plowright, R. K., Reeder, D. M., Reichard, J. D., Sleeman, J. M., Streicker, D. G., Towner, J. S., and Wang, L.-F.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:PLoS Pathogens
Publisher:Public Library of Science
ISSN (Online):1553-7374
Published Online:03 September 2020
Copyright Holders:This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Public Domain declaration
First Published:First published in PLoS Pathogens 16(9): e1008758
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
307106Epidemiology meets biotechnology: preventing viral emergence from batsDaniel StreickerWellcome Trust (WELLCOTR)217221/Z/19/ZInstitute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine