Study Signals Bat Flu Unlikely to Jump to Humans

Bats species harbor a large number of viruses that cause human disease.  So, when the first influenza sequences from Guatemalan little yellow-shouldered bats were uncovered in 2009, the question arose of whether bat influenza viruses pose a threat to human health.  A collaborative project between JCVI and Kansas State University was recently published in PLoS Pathogens to address this question.

H1N1 influenza virus particles

Image Credit: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

The approach employed cutting-edge synthetic biology approaches and demonstrated that, while the sequences of the bat influenza virus of the subtype H17N10 are viable, they are unable to infect human cells. Additional experiments clearly indicated that these bat virus sequences are not able to reassort with other influenza A and B viruses known to infect humans. Therefore, the potential for a pandemic bat influenza entering the human population is extremely unlikely.

David Wentworth, the former Director of Viral Programs at JCVI, was the lead investigator for this study.  Additional authors from JCVI include Tim Stockwell, Wei Wang, Xudong Lin, Bin Zhou (now at NYU), and Reed Shabman.

For additional information see the press release.

2 Responses to “Study Signals Bat Flu Unlikely to Jump to Humans”


  • Very interesting research, but not completely new. Many of these informations were already published at a Nature paper “An infectious bat-derived chimeric influenza virus harbouring the entry machinery of an influenza A virus”

  • Congratulations for the great work!
    I read both papers (the JCVI one and the one mentioned by Cambell) and actually they were submitted almost at the same time. One in March one in April. And if one really reads the paper, it is obvious that the JCVI paper contains much more information than the Nature Communications paper does.

Comments are currently closed.