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Conservation Research Institute


Pathogen spillover: Lessons learned from bat viruses

Prof. Raina Plowright, Cornell University

Wed 30th November, 4 pm in the Main Seminar Room, DAB

Bats are hosts of human pathogens that have pandemic potential, including coronaviruses, henipaviruses, and filoviruses. Bats are also key pollinators, seed dispersers, and insect consumers and may be sensitive to environmental change. Over the past four years, we have been sampling bats on multiple continents to understand the factors that drive pathogen shedding and spillover. At the same time, we have been collecting and analyzing long-term data on land use change, bat ecology, bat behavior, and henipavirus spillover events. We find that bat virus shedding is more likely during stressful conditions and from populations that have been displaced to novel habitats. Spillover may be more likely when bats are shedding more infectious virus. Our work indicates that ecological stressors may trigger the cascade of events that leads to spillover of bat pathogens to humans. We consider how to proactively prevent spillover by addressing the upstream factors that drive the transmission of pathogens from animals to humans.

Drinks and nibbles will be served in the Common Room after the talk.

Please note: No need to register if you're coming in person 

Online participants will need to register via Eventbrite:

Wednesday, 30 November, 2022 - 16:00
Event location: 
Main Seminar Room, David Attenborough Building