Reducing persistent coronavirus infection in bats may lower the frequency of viral spillover to humans
Keywords:coronavirus, bats, spillover, vaccination, nanoparticles, aptamers
Coronaviruses have been responsible for the emergence of pathogenic human diseases in recent decades, especially the coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19). Phylogenetic studies of RNA (ribonucleic acid) viruses suggest that most human coronaviruses originated in bats, which are suitable reservoir hosts for many zoonotic viruses because of their unique biological and physiological features. The generation of human pathogenic coronaviruses is a result of genetic adaptation in bats and/or intermediate hosts, leading to spillover events. Therefore, we propose that specifically reducing or disrupting persistent coronavirus infection in bats may consequently decrease the frequency of human coronavirus diseases. We suggest several strategies to achieve the aforementioned goal in bats, including vaccination and targeted delivery of molecular inhibitors, such as monoclonal antibodies, aptamers, antisense oligonucleotides, and siRNA by use of viral nanoparticles. Advances in global bat research with the aim of controlling coronavirus infection in these mammals are pivotal in enhancing human health worldwide.
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