Reuters - Video

EDITION: U.S. | U.K. | IN

Moments of Innovation

Bats reveal clues to viral immunity

Monday, February 04, 2013 - 02:20

Feb. 4 - Bats can harbour some of the world's most deadly viruses without ever getting sick and researchers in Singapore are trying to find out how they do it. By investigating the creatures' genetic structure, the scientists hope to eventually find the key for humans to fight infectious disesases. Elly Park reports.

▲ Hide Transcript

View Transcript

TV AND WEB RESTRICTIONS~**PART MUST COURTESY BROWN UNIVERSITY The bat is the only mammal capable of true flight - an ability that might be linked to its highly effective immune system according to researcher, Ian Mendenhall of Duke-National University in Singapore. Today, he is taking samples from a fruit bat. He's looking specifically for viruses. SOUNDBITE: IAN MENDENHALL - RESEARCH FELLOW AT DUKE-NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE IN EMERGING INFECTIOUS DISEASES, SAYING: "When we're catching live bats, we typically take an oral swab, an anal swab, some feces and also some blood. Most pathogens have a particular cell tropism, or an affinity where they like to infect specific cells, so if we sample the mucus membranes, there are specific viruses that we expect to find there." These viruses include influenza, SARS and Ebola that can be fatal to humans and other mammals but have almost no effect on the bats.. Back at the lab, Mendenhall and his colleague Wang Lin-Fa are trying to find out why. They see clues in the bat's ability to fly. Flying takes a great deal of energy, and generating that energy requires a high metabolism. . But as it's producing energy for flight, the bat's metabolism is also producing toxic by-products called free radicals that damage DNA. However, the bat has developed a defence mechanism. Through analysis of the bats' genome, the researchers think they may have found the key. SOUNDBITE: WANG LIN-FA - DUKE-NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE PROGRAM DIRECTOR OF EMERGING INFECTIOUS DISEASES, SAYING: "Some genes involved in DNA damage repair also play a role in the immunity, so immunity is very important for our body to fight infection. So what we think is that explains bats carry a lot of deadly viruses, but they don't develop the disease when humans or animals do." With the help of international researchers the team plans to map these DNA variants within the next five years - in the hopes that the bat will lead the way to new preventive and controlling measures for emerging infectious diseases in vulnerable animals, including livestock…and humans. .

Press CTRL+C (Windows), CMD+C (Mac), or long-press the URL below on your mobile device to copy the code

Bats reveal clues to viral immunity

Monday, February 04, 2013 - 02:20

Top News »

Investing 201 »

Arian Foster = BlackBerry? Arian Foster = BlackBerry?

Fri, Oct 25, 2013 - (3:16)

Don’t miss these red flags for IPOs Don’t miss these red flags for IPOs

Thu, Oct 10, 2013 - (2:34)

Copycat currency trading Copycat currency trading

Wed, Oct 02, 2013 - (2:28)

When to dump a winner When to dump a winner

Tue, Sep 24, 2013 - (1:55)

Where gold might again attract Jim Rogers Where gold might again attract Jim Rogers

Thu, Sep 19, 2013 - (2:05)

Why savings interest rates won't budge Why savings interest rates won't budge

Fri, Sep 13, 2013 - (2:09)

Buy local? ETFs try the trend Buy local? ETFs try the trend

Thu, Sep 05, 2013 - (2:42)

The better bond funds The better bond funds

Wed, Aug 07, 2013 - (2:40)

Best bargain in 40 years? European stocks Best bargain in 40 years? European stocks

Thu, Aug 01, 2013 - (2:24)

Invest like an activist Invest like an activist

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 - (2:49)

Money Clip »

3 things to do before disaster strikes 3 things to do before disaster strikes

Wed, Sep 18, 2013 - (1:39)

Your must-do money list Your must-do money list

Wed, Sep 11, 2013 - (1:24)

The worst "best" financial advice The worst "best" financial advice

Wed, Sep 04, 2013 - (1:42)

Forget gold: The case for REITs Forget gold: The case for REITs

Fri, Apr 26, 2013 - (1:19)

3 rules for buying a house now 3 rules for buying a house now

Thu, Apr 18, 2013 - (1:39)

“Stalking” your dream home - Money Clip “Stalking” your dream home - Money Clip

Wed, Mar 27, 2013 - (2:50)

3 hidden tax deductions - Money Clip 3 hidden tax deductions - Money Clip

Thu, Mar 21, 2013 - (1:33)

Moving Pictures »

Still missing – MH370 Still missing – MH370

Fri, Sep 05, 2014 - (2:05)

Images of August Images of August

Fri, Aug 29, 2014 - (1:00)

Burning Together Burning Together

Mon, Sep 01, 2014 - (2:23)

Mending dolls, teddies and hearts Mending dolls, teddies and hearts

Fri, Aug 22, 2014 - (3:12)

"Old timers" sail the Chesapeake Bay "Old timers" sail the Chesapeake Bay

Mon, Aug 11, 2014 - (2:27)

Burned memories Burned memories

Fri, Aug 08, 2014 - (3:02)

Images of July Images of July

Thu, Jul 31, 2014 - (1:20)

World Cup: passion on the pitch World Cup: passion on the pitch

Fri, Jul 11, 2014 - (1:00)

A refugee in America gives back A refugee in America gives back

Thu, Jul 03, 2014 - (3:25)

A long search for refuge A long search for refuge

Fri, Jun 20, 2014 - (3:04)

Reuters Investigates »

Re-homing victim: "I could have been dead" Re-homing victim: "I could have been dead"

Wed, Feb 19, 2014 - (8:24)

Cops and loggers in the Amazon rainforest Cops and loggers in the Amazon rainforest

Fri, Jan 10, 2014 - (4:01)

"Passed around like a dog" "Passed around like a dog"

Thu, Aug 29, 2013 - (6:32)

Adopted, then abandoned online Adopted, then abandoned online

Thu, Aug 29, 2013 - (13:21)

How the DEA keeps its secrets secret How the DEA keeps its secrets secret

Mon, Aug 05, 2013 - (1:36)

How education lost its role as the great equalizer - Reuters Investigates How education lost its role as the great...

Mon, Dec 17, 2012 - (7:52)

Jihad Jane: From abused child to American jihadist - Reuters Investigates Jihad Jane: From abused child to American...

Sat, Dec 08, 2012 - (10:01)

Jihad Jane: The order to kill - Reuters Investigates Jihad Jane: The order to kill - Reuters...

Sun, Dec 09, 2012 - (10:39)