Among the claims that the coronavirus originated from bats. Professor of Environmental Sciences Institute, Boğaziçi University, who has been studying these creatures, which are the only flying mammal group, for many years. Dr. Raşit Bilgin says that this is a strong possibility but it should be investigated in detail. According to scientists, studies show that the transition of the coronavirus to humans is most likely not from the bat, but from pangolin sold in markets in Wuhan, China, in contact with it in the wild.
Professor of Environmental Sciences at Boğaziçi University. Dr. Raşit Bilgin proved that long-winged bats spread from Anatolia to Europe, the Caucasus and North Africa in a research program involving researchers from 18 countries.
He continued his extensive research on bats for many years. Dr. Bilgin says the coronavirus may have been caused by bats, as in many epidemics such as SARS and MERS. Stating that bats are less affected by viruses with their special immune systems but they are good carriers, the researcher said, “The only mammal group that can fly with 1250 species in the world is the bat. This makes it easier for them to interact with other species in the wild. "We are closer than before with many species that contain these types of viruses because of the increasingly narrow natural habitats." Professor Dr. Raşit Bilgin describes the relationship of bats with viruses as follows:
“75 PERCENT OF THE LAST EXCEPTIONS ANIMAL ORIGIN”
'' 75 percent of virus-based outbreaks in recent years are of animal origin. In bats, virus diversity is higher than other mammals. Humans destroy the habitats of wild species in many places. As a result, living spaces of living creatures are narrowing. This increases the interaction of wild species with humans. For this reason, we see that virus-related, zoonotic diseases increased from animals to humans in the last decades. If those creatures remained in their natural habitats and their interactions with humans were limited, there would be no such increase in zoonotic diseases ''.
“Rarely Contacting Bats”
'' It is very rare for viruses to infect people directly from bats. It usually passes to us through 'intermediate species' that are in contact with humans, or 'reproductive hosts'. The SARS outbreak in 2003 began in a wild animal market in China. The replica host type here was civet cat. The place where the last coronavirus epidemic also began is likely to be an animal market in Wuhan, China. In these markets, many wild animals, which interact with bats in their natural habitats and where virus can be transmitted through bats, are sold. Then, when these wild animals, other than bats, for food consumption are caught and brought to the markets for sale, the transition to humanity opens. There are many examples of outbreaks of this type of intermediate species in contact with bats. While the reproductive host was a pig in the Nipah virus that appeared in East Asia in the 1990s, it was this kind of camel in MERS, which appeared in Saudi Arabia in 2008. In the recent coronavirus outbreak, there are findings that this species is pangolin. But ultimately it is the kind of person that triggers this whole process. We destroy natural habitats, set up animal markets and trade wild animals illegally. Thus, unfortunately, we increase the likelihood of such outbreaks as well. ''
“BATS ARE NOT SICK, BUT VIRUSABLE”
'' The only group of mammals flying bats. Flying is a very energy-intensive action. Therefore, mitochondria, the organelles responsible for energy production in their cells, are very active. When there is a lot of energy production here, "reactive oxygen molecules" emerge. These can reach sizes that can damage both the cell and DNA. However, there is a mechanism in bats that controls this DNA damage. Normally, mammals' attempts to remove DNA damage and fight viruses through immune cells and blood vessels lead to inflammation - that is, reactions such as fever, flushing, swelling in our body. When we think of people, in many viral infections, this inflammatory response is caused by the direct damage of viruses to our DNA - in some cases rather than DNA damage.
For example, a significant portion of the drugs used in the treatment of COVID-19 are “anti-inflammatory”, that is, drugs that suppress the inflammation against the virus. Bats, on the other hand, are able to activate certain special proteins and enzymes within their own bodies to suppress inflammation. In addition, interferon, which occurs in viral infections in other mammals, is constantly produced in bats to fight viruses. Having different immune systems compared to us and other mammals makes bats resistant to viruses. In fact, studies on bats, especially immune systems, can open up new horizons in terms of protecting people from viruses in similar ways. ''
Hibya News Agency