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Summer Research Project
Covid-19 & Bats

In this summer research project our Burrell students aim to identify coronaviruses in bat species local to the Southwest United States using genetic testing and immunohistochemistry, a laboratory-based diagnostic technique. This work will provide important baseline data regarding the extent to which coronaviruses are maintained in local bat populations. Research is a building block for improving human health.

The bat tissues were donated from licensed and permitted collaborators. Bats do not carry Sars-CoV-2 in the wild. In fact, bats provide immense benefits; including, helping control insect pests, pollinating desert flowers, and maintaining healthy ecosystems.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is caused by the novel beta-coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Bats are thought to serve as hosts for coronaviruses, including strains that are related to SARS-CoV-2. The outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 has raised the question of whether bats native to North America can also serve as long-term reservoirs of SARS-CoV-2 related viruses. These viruses do not pass directly to humans, they need to go through another vector.

Research Team:
Thomas Eiting, PhD
Assistant Professor of Physiology
Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine

Eric Babb, OMS-II
Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine

Amelia Hidalgo, OMS-II
Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine