What is COVID-19: Bat vector virus Alert?

One that carries a disease from an animal or plant to another animal or plant is called a “vector”. A vector can be an insect or an animal.

Mosquitoes are vectors of Plasmodium parasite, the malaria causing parasite.  Lot of domestic and wild animals are known to act as vector for many diseases. But “Bat vector”, bat as vector is notoriously placed in top ranking.

 Bat vector is believed to be the prime spreader for COVID 19 too.


What Is COVID 19?

COVID 19 stands for “coronavirus disease 2019

The term COVID originated from the virus responsible for the disease , that is “CORONA” virus.

Then how coronavirus or COVID 19 got its name?

“Corona” means “crown”. This refers to the way that the virus looks under the microscope, like there’s a crown on the top of the virus. That is the reason these viruses are named “coronavirus”.

Some of them, four or five different kinds, cause common diseases among humans, everything from the common cold to mild or moderate respiratory illnesses. 

Similarly the other kinds of coronaviruses affect animals, and sometimes, on rare occasions, we see coronaviruses jump from animal species into the human population. The “novel coronavirus 2019” is a new kind of coronavirus, we haven’t seen among humans before.


Virus alert


coronaviruses are “+ve sense” RNA viruses. It can cause diseases like the common cold and severe respiratory diseases (SARS and MERS). 

Incidentally, the recently emerged SARS-CoV-2 has caused havoc in China, and pandemic situation to the worldwide population, leading to the current disease outbreak. This has not been controlled to date though high efforts are being put in to counter this virus, leading to a virus alert for COVID 19.

Why we need this “virus alert” for coronavirus?

WHO announced an official name for this disease as COVID-19. For the time being, earlier, the WHO named this currently emerging virus as a 2019-novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) and later the disease as COVID-19. 

coronaviruses store their genes on Randall viruses are either RNA viruses or DNA viruses. RNA viruses tend to be smaller, with fewer genes, meaning they infect many hosts and replicate quickly in those hosts. 

In general, RNA viruses don’t have a proofreading mechanism, whereas DNA viruses do. So when an RNA virus replicates, it’s much more likely to have mistakes called mutations. Many of these mutations are useless or even harmless. But some make the virus better suited for certain environments—like a new host species.

Subsequently, based on the similarity to SARS-CoVs, this virus has been proposed to be designated/ named as “Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2” (SARS-CoV-2). 

Bat vector: Is Bat a vector of COVID 19?

Epidemics often occurred when a virus jumps from animals to humans. This is true of the RNA viruses that caused the Ebola, Zia, and SARS epidemics, and the COVID-19 pandemic

The SARS-CoV-2 is a member of the order Nidovirales,  

    • Coronaviridae 
      • Orthocoronavirinae 
        1. Alphacoronavirus 
        2. Betacoronavirus 
        3. Gammacoronavirus
        4. Deltacoronavirus


How COVID originated?

The origin of known coronavirus is:

Based on molecular characterization, the SARS-CoV-2 is considered as a new Betacoronavirus belonging to the subgenus- Sarbecovirus.  

To start with, the genesis of zoonotic coronavirus related to MERS and SARS is also the same. However, based on the percent identity with other Betacoronavirus, the SARS-CoV-2 was identified as a distinct virus.

Once in humans, the virus still mutates—usually not enough to create a new virus, but enough to create variations, or strains, of the original one.


bat vector


How coronavirus are different from other viruses?

coronaviruses have a few key differences from most RNA viruses. They’re some of the largest, meaning they have the most genes. That creates more opportunities for harmful mutations. 

In order to counteract this risk, coronaviruses have a unique feature: an enzyme that checks for replication errors and corrects mistakes. This makes coronaviruses much more stable, with a slower mutation rate than other RNA viruses. 

While this may sound formidable, the slow mutation rate is a promising sign when it comes to disarming them. 

however, after an infection, our immune systems can recognize germs and destroy them more quickly if they infect us against they don’t make us sick. But mutations can make a virus less recognizable to our immune systems—and therefore more difficult to fight off. 

In fact they can also make antiviral drugs and vaccines less effective because they’re tailored very specifically to a virus. That’s why we need a new flu vaccine every year—the influenza virus mutates so quickly that new strains pop up constantly.

 The slower mutation rate of coronaviruses means our immune systems, drugs, and vaccines might be able to recognize them for longer after infection, and therefore protect us better. 

Still, we don’t know how long our bodies remain immune to different coronaviruses and COVID 19 in particular.

Though we know how coronavirus disease COVID originates, but we are yet to find out how COVID 19 originated? Similarly, though infections due to bat vector and other vectors are known to us, there’s never been an approved treatment or vaccine for a coronavirus

Most respiratory viruses are spread by large droplets that come out when people cough and sneeze, and stay aloft usually for about six feet in front of them. They may land on surfaces, and the person touching that surface may carry that virus from that surface to his face, for e.g. Door knobs. 

This bat vector virus alert is there because these viruses can spread the air and stay aloft for a longer period in small droplet nuclei. 

In conclusion, the main things to keep in mind is that this is respiratory virus season, and we have other respiratory viruses like influenza that we need to take precautions, because we know we have thousands of cases and thousands of deaths in this country every year from influenza.  




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(For informational purpose only. Consult your local medical authority for advice.

Check the CDC and WHO websites for up-to-date, reliable information about coronavirus.)