Lessons from responding to pandemics and studying bat viruses/immunity

In the three decades or so, we have had multiple zoonotic diseases outbreaks caused by bat-borne viruses or viruses with ancestral lineages in bats: Hendra in Australia (first detected in 1994), Nipah in Malaysia/Singapore (1998/9), SARS outbreak (2002/3), MERS outbreak (2012), large scale Ebola virus outbreak (2014) and SARS-CoV-2 (2019/20). Bats are now known as one of, if not, the most important reservoirs of different virus families, yet bats carry these viruses in a largely asymptomatic manner. Bats are also the longest living mamma relative to body size. In this presentation, I will discuss the lessons learnt from studying bat-borne emerging zoonotic viruses and bat immunology in the context of better preparing for future pandemics and translating “bat knowledge” into improving human health in general.