A review of dozens of studies on the alleged ties between bats and viruses including SARS-CoV-2 has found no “sufficient compelling scientific proof” that the flying mammals are responsible for the emergence of COVID-19 in humans, according to Tel Aviv University researchers in Israel.
Published in the journal iScience, the study said it’s a mistake to equate “possession of antibodies” with serving as ongoing carriers of the disease that caused them, the Jerusalem Post reports.
The meta-analysis found that for “over 100 viruses for which bats are considered potential reservoirs,” from Ebola to COVID, nearly half were “based on the incidence of antibodies or PCR tests, rather than actual isolation of identical viruses. Moreover, many of the reported findings are not convincing.”
While “in many cases, a virus similar to a human pathogen is liable to be found in bats … it is not pathogenic to humans and is not sufficient to use bats as a reservoir,” according to the study led by Dr. Maya Weinberg. “Bats have a highly effective immune system that enables them to deal relatively easily with viruses considered lethal for other mammals.”
The creatures have a talent for “moderate inflammatory pathways” that prevents their immune systems from overreacting to viruses, the Post summarized the findings. They maintain “an excellent balance between resistance and tolerance.”