Focus: Prelims, GS-3
Why in news?
Bats are being considered as a vector for Novel Coronavirus
- Bats serves as natural hosts for numerous viruses including Ebola virus, Nipah virus, coronaviruses such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and the 2019 novel coronavirus that has infected nearly 10,000 people and killed over 350 others.
- Still they don’t get infected because bats can avoid excessive virus-induced inflammation, which often causes severe diseases in animals and people infected with viruses
- According to journal Nature Microbiology
- The inflammatory response is dampened in bats immaterial of the variety of viruses that are present and the viral load.
- Significantly reduced inflammation in bats was because activation of an important protein — NLRP3.
- Reduced activation of the NLRP3 protein was in turn due to impaired production of mRNA (transcript). Since mRNA production is impaired the NLRP3 protein production gets compromised leading to less amount of the protein being produced.
- Further analysis comparing 10 bat and 17 non-bat mammalian NLRP3 gene sequences confirmed that these adaptations appear to be bat-specific.