Science Enabled by Specimen Data

Sánchez, C. A., H. Li, K. L. Phelps, C. Zambrana-Torrelio, L.-F. Wang, P. Zhou, Z.-L. Shi, et al. 2022. A strategy to assess spillover risk of bat SARS-related coronaviruses in Southeast Asia. Nature Communications 13. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-022-31860-w

Emerging diseases caused by coronaviruses of likely bat origin (e.g., SARS, MERS, SADS, COVID-19) have disrupted global health and economies for two decades. Evidence suggests that some bat SARS-related coronaviruses (SARSr-CoVs) could infect people directly, and that their spillover is more frequent than previously recognized. Each zoonotic spillover of a novel virus represents an opportunity for evolutionary adaptation and further spread; therefore, quantifying the extent of this spillover may help target prevention programs. We derive current range distributions for known bat SARSr-CoV hosts and quantify their overlap with human populations. We then use probabilistic risk assessment and data on human-bat contact, human viral seroprevalence, and antibody duration to estimate that a median of 66,280 people (95% CI: 65,351–67,131) are infected with SARSr-CoVs annually in Southeast Asia. These data on the geography and scale of spillover can be used to target surveillance and prevention programs for potential future bat-CoV emergence. Coronaviruses may spill over from bats to humans. This study uses epidemiological data, species distribution models, and probabilistic risk assessment to map overlap among people and SARSr-CoV bat hosts and estimate how many people are infected with bat-origin SARSr-CoVs in Southeast Asia annually.

Thapa, S., D. R. Dahal, R. Ghimire, R. Baral, B. Yadav, B. R. Lamichhane, B. V. Dahal, et al. 2021. Occurrence of bats in protected areas of Nepal: An update on species richness and distribution records. Nepalese Journal of Zoology 5: 68–85. https://doi.org/10.3126/njz.v5i2.42035

Bat surveys in 20 Protected Areas (PAs) of Nepal are sporadic and/or had targeted purposively a few localities, therefore, bat diversity from the PAs is yet to be explored. Bat species richness in PAs from two reviews until 2011 are inconsistent. In total, seven surveys have been undertaken in six P…