Bat 'super immunity' could help protect people

Issue 

CSIRO researchers have uncovered a unique ability in bats that allows them to carry but remain unaffected by lethal diseases.

Unlike humans, bats keep their immune systems switched on all the time. Scientists believe this could hold the key to protecting people from deadly diseases.

Bats are a natural host for more than 100 viruses, some of which are lethal to people, including Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), Ebola and Hendra virus.

Leading bat immunologist at CSIRO's Australian Animal Health Laboratory Dr Michelle Baker said: “If we can redirect other species' immune responses to behave in a similar manner to that of bats, then the high death rate associated with viruses could be a thing of the past.”

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