Biologists disguise to protect bats (yes, bats) from Covid-19


Bat biologists like Dan Feller is excited about the summer field work season every year. This is the time to leave the office and enter the forest in search of quarries-in this case, 10 species in the mountains and woodlands of Maryland . Bats are most active in summer because this is their breeding season and also when they prey on insects the most.

But this summer is a little different. Feller and many of his colleagues across the country did not use ultra-thin nets or special traps to catch bats (don’t worry, they won’t be injured), but instead use acoustic equipment that records sonar calls to calculate them remotely. This is because of the risk of humans transmitting the coronavirus to bats.

It may sound strange, but bats now need protection HumanityYes, the SARS-CoV-2 virus that surrounds the world is likely to emerge from bats in China, then jump to another animal, and then jump to humans. This process is called overflow.But humans can also transmit viruses back to animals; that’s called Overflow.

In Maryland, researchers like Feller are taking precautions to prevent the virus from spreading in either direction. “We took a conservative approach and stopped dealing with them,” said Ferrer, who has been conducting annual bat surveys in Maryland since 1990. “We have re-evaluated some of the research projects we have arranged. Before we get more information, we have changed the technology this year.”

Fehler and others will use equipment that records the sound signals of animals navigating while flying to count the number of bats this summer, but they will not directly check them for signs. White nose syndrome, A devastating disease, since it first appeared, the number of bats has been reduced by more than 90% Four caves near Albany, New York, killed more than 10,000 bats in 2007 alone.

Officials from the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently issued new guidelines for biologists such as Feller, recommending that they wear protective equipment such as masks and respirators to reduce the spread of close contact with or when they come into contact with bats. The risk of virus. Research in caves where many animals hibernate in winter.

“We are treating bats the same way we treat human communities,” said Christina Smok, the director of the Non-Game Bureau of Fish, Wildlife and Parks in Montana, who oversees researchers who study animals that have not been hunted. Permission. “We will use personal protective equipment to protect the safety of the bats. This means wearing N95 masks and gloves, taking the temperature, and if the test result is positive or you feel uncomfortable, please do not do any work.”

Federal agencies issued the guidelines after consulting with wildlife health and virology experts last year. The guide also includes data from two early experiments in which researchers exposed bats to the coronavirus.inside Learning for the first timePublished in December, a group of scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey, the University of Wisconsin, and Louisiana State University discovered that the large brown bat (Shiitake Mushrooms), The most common type in the United States is resistant to viral infections. Another study conducted by German researchers in 2020 found that Egyptian fruit bats (Egyptian rose), It is common in the Mediterranean, Europe and North Africa, but is somewhat sensitive to this virus.

Research by the US Geological Survey assessed the possibility of American scientists and wildlife managers spreading the coronavirus to bats and found that if protection measures are not taken, less than 2 out of every 1,000 bats may be infected.This 32-page research report was published in May bioRxiv preprint server And it has not yet been peer-reviewed or accepted for publication by journals.

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