Bats Could Be Key to Ebola Cure

Fruit bats
Researchers say that bats' immunity to Ebola could help develop a cure for humans.

Bats can carry the Ebola virus without becoming sick themselves, and they may have helped spread the disease in West Africa, where more than 5,000 people have died from it this year. The bats can leave the virus on fruit, which is then picked up by animals like monkeys and antelopes. Those animals are then sometimes eaten by humans in West Africa. But scientists say the bats’ immunity to the disease could help develop a cure for humans. They think the bats’ ability to avoid becoming sick from Ebola and other diseases they carry may be linked to their ability to fly. Their flying can cause stress and cell damage, and experts think they may combat this damage by having parts of their immune system permanently switched on. "If we can redirect the immune system of other species to react in the same way, then that could be a potential therapeutic approach," said Michelle Baker of Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization. — Read it at the U.K.’s International Business Times


Join the Conversation

Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!