Virus hunters search caves to foil the next pandemic

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Some virus hunters from China decided to help scientists that try to detect a new future pandemic by searching bats in caves.

For extra protection, the small team of scientists dressed themselves in hazmat suits, face masks and gloves. These measure were taken to prevent the exposure to unknown new viruses.

To enter in the system of caves, they equipped themselves with headlights, since there is no natural light in cave systems. To collect the blood from the bat’s wings, the scientists put them to sleep with a mild anaesthetic.

“We also carry oral and faecal swabs and gather droppings” says Peter Daszak, who presides over EcoHealth Alliance, an American NGO specialised in detecting new viruses and pandemic prevention.

Daszak has been a virus hunter for over 10 years. He has visited over 20 countries to discover new pathogens.

The society of virus hunters collected over “15,000 bat samples, which led the identification of around 500 new coronaviruses”

One of these samples found in a cave in China in 2013, was a possible ancestor of the current COVID-19. Researchers discovered previous Coronavirus pathogens in 1960. But, before the SARS epidemic, nobody looked into studying them.

Source: CNN Health

For more information about the COVID-19 pandemic around the world, read the following article!

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