Why are bats such vectors for diseases?

As the new coronavirus rapidly spreads throughout China and around the world, scientists are indicating that the virus likely originated in bats. Specifically, they suggest, it probably game from the Chinese horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus sinicus). But this has raised questions. Why are bats such a reservoir of viruses, such as SARS and MERS, that cause wildlife-transmitted diseases to humans. Scientists point to bats’ immune systems as a key factor. Research has shown that bats’ evolutionary adaptations to flight change their immune systems.

Read more in The New York Times.

Header Image: The Indian flying fox (Pteropus giganteus) is known to carry Nipah virus. ©Srikaanth Sekar