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Critically Speaking

Aug 5, 2020

Bats, bats everywhere...except in the arctic and antarctic. Bats are about ⅕ of the total species of mammals in the world, and yet, we don’t know a lot about them and we cannot pinpoint how many species of bats there are in the world. Bats have been in the media more and more in recent years in regards to diseases and virus transfer between species. This has been especially common in the news and media in regards to the novel COVID-19 Virus currently causing a worldwide pandemic. In this episode, Therese Markow and Dr. Vikram Misra discuss Dr. Misra’s research in bats and bat borne viruses. They talk about the life span (and health for that life span) of the bats, what we have observed in regards to the bat health, how they avoid getting ill, and how they shed the virus. The evolution of viruses also plays a roll in the transmission between species of these viruses and potential epidemics. In order to solve these epidemic questions, this is a problem for One Health - everyone, in all fields, must work together to solve the problems and questions of world wide health. 



 Key Takeaways:

  • What we know about one species of bats may not apply to others due to the number of species of bats. 
  • Evolution is a pretty powerful tool. If you have thousands and thousands of viruses and one mutation, one mutant that just has this small selective advantage, and very soon you start selection for it.
  • We do not currently have a lot of data on the COVID-19 virus. Without more data, it is dangerous to speculate on this viruhout more good data to back it up.


"[Bat’s have] a lot to teach us. Longevity itself is not important. If you live to be 150 years old, and you have to spend the last 60 years in bed because you were bedridden, that isn't any good, right? It would be very nice if you were healthy for your entire lifespan. They can, hopefully, teach us how to do that. And also, if we can figure out how they deal with viral infections without getting really ill, then that might help us as well." —  Dr. Vikram Misra


Connect with Dr. Vikram Misra:

Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan: Vikram Misra  


Connect with Therese:


Twitter: @CritiSpeak




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