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Pere Renom

“We have given you, O Adam, no visage proper to yourself, nor endowment properly your own, in order that whatever place, whatever form, whatever gifts you may, with premeditation, select, these same you may have and possess through your own judgement and decision […] We have made you a creature neither of heaven nor of earth, neither mortal nor immortal as the free and proud shaper of your own being, fashion yourself in the form you may prefer.”
Oration on the Dignity of Man – Giovanni Pico della Mirandola

Bats and viruses

published on 7.02.2020

When the new coronavirus outbreak appeared in Wuhan, Chinese researchers sequenced its genome, its RNA, and compared it to that of many domestic and wild animals, until they found a 96% match with the Chinese horseshoe bat. Therefore, the natural reservoir of this virus is most likely found in this species. Bats in general are the natural reservoir for many viruses as they are practically unaffected. How is it possible? During the day bats sleep and have very low vital signs. At night, on the other hand, when they fly out to hunt, they have a much more active metabolism than ours, mainly because they are much smaller. A bat can have between 700 and 900 beats per minute. But in addition, the fact of flying is so energetically expensive that its metabolism releases free radicals, and even a certain degree of lysis, cell breakdown occurs. Consequently, their immune system is adapted to tolerate this stress and is always in a pre-alert state. It is too muffled to completely remove viruses, but instead keeps them at bay without experiencing an overreaction. The result is that bats and viruses coexist. Viruses thus have an ideal host in which they can stay long, mutate, and acquire the ability to infect new hosts. Since bats will continue to be a reservoir of viruses and infect wildlife, the only solution to prevent future epidemics is to stop eating wild animals.

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