The quick evolution of bats may explain these animals’ extraordinary ability to host and survive infections and avoid cancer. This is demonstrated by a study from the Oxford University Press, published in Genome Biology and Evolution.
Bats are exceptional creatures among mammals, not only for their flying capability but also for their long lifespan, low incidence of diseases like cancer, and robust immune system. It is also believed that bats may have played a role in the emergence of SARS-CoV-2.
The remarkable ability of these mammals to tolerate viral infections may stem from innate and unusual features of their immune system. These peculiarities make bats interesting subjects for research with potential implications for human health.
For example, by gaining a better understanding of the immune system mechanisms in bats that allow them to tolerate viral infections, researchers may be better equipped to prevent diseases transmitted from animals to humans. Comparative genomic analyses of bats and cancer-susceptible mammals could also provide new insights into the causes of carcinomas and the links between cancer and immunity.
Studies on bats cannot be directly compared to those based on murine models, as mice are more easily manipulated than bats but have fewer relevant properties for preventing human diseases.