WAB-Net research highlighted in the fight against future pandemics
In an Op-Ed published in the US-based ‘Newsweek’ magazine, WAB-Net member Dr. Kendra Phelps explains how she is helping to prevent the next pandemic through ‘boots-on-the-ground’ disease surveillance. As part of WAB-Net’s ‘Bats and Coronaviruses‘ project, Dr. Phelps provides training to Western Asian scientists in the techniques of bat capture and non-lethal bat sampling (among other techniques), in an effort to catalogue bat and bat coronavirus (CoV) diversity in the region. Ultimately, this work aims to improve our understanding of the risk of bat-borne virus spillover throughout Western Asia – a timely endeavor, given that the causative agent of COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) is theorized to have originated in bats.
It is important to remember however (as Dr. Phelps points out in her article), that although the risk posed by bat-borne viruses is real, it is human behavior (not that of bats) that is driving the emergence of diseases such as COVID-19.