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Review

Bat Research Networks and Viral Surveillance: Gaps and Opportunities in Western Asia

1
EcoHealth Alliance, New York, NY 10001, USA
2
Biosafety and Biosecurity Center, Royal Scientific Society, 11941 Amman, Jordan
3
Department of Wildlife & Ecology, University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Lahore 54000, Pakistan
4
Institute of Environmental Sciences, Boğaziçi University, 34342 Istanbul, Turkey
5
National Center for Disease Control & Public Health, 0198 Tbilisi, Georgia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Viruses 2019, 11(3), 240; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11030240
Received: 18 February 2019 / Revised: 7 March 2019 / Accepted: 7 March 2019 / Published: 10 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viruses and Bats 2019)
Bat research networks and viral surveillance are assumed to be at odds due to seemingly conflicting research priorities. Yet human threats that contribute to declines in bat populations globally also lead to increased transmission and spread of bat-associated viruses, which may pose a threat to global health and food security. In this review, we discuss the importance of and opportunities for multidisciplinary collaborations between bat research networks and infectious disease experts to tackle shared threats that jeopardize bat conservation as well as human and animal health. Moreover, we assess research effort on bats and bat-associated viruses globally, and demonstrate that Western Asia has limited published research and represents a gap for coordinated bat research. The lack of bat research in Western Asia severely limits our capacity to identify and mitigate region-specific threats to bat populations and detect interactions between bats and incidental hosts that promote virus spillover. We detail a regional initiative to establish the first bat research network in Western Asia (i.e., the Western Asia Bat Research Network, WAB-Net), with the aim of integrating ecological research on bats with virus surveillance to find “win-win” solutions that promote bat conservation and safeguard public and animal health across the region. View Full-Text
Keywords: Chiroptera; conservation; coronaviruses; Middle East; zoonoses; One Health Chiroptera; conservation; coronaviruses; Middle East; zoonoses; One Health
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MDPI and ACS Style

Phelps, K.L.; Hamel, L.; Alhmoud, N.; Ali, S.; Bilgin, R.; Sidamonidze, K.; Urushadze, L.; Karesh, W.; Olival, K.J. Bat Research Networks and Viral Surveillance: Gaps and Opportunities in Western Asia. Viruses 2019, 11, 240. https://doi.org/10.3390/v11030240

AMA Style

Phelps KL, Hamel L, Alhmoud N, Ali S, Bilgin R, Sidamonidze K, Urushadze L, Karesh W, Olival KJ. Bat Research Networks and Viral Surveillance: Gaps and Opportunities in Western Asia. Viruses. 2019; 11(3):240. https://doi.org/10.3390/v11030240

Chicago/Turabian Style

Phelps, Kendra L., Luke Hamel, Nisreen Alhmoud, Shahzad Ali, Rasit Bilgin, Ketevan Sidamonidze, Lela Urushadze, William Karesh, and Kevin J. Olival 2019. "Bat Research Networks and Viral Surveillance: Gaps and Opportunities in Western Asia" Viruses 11, no. 3: 240. https://doi.org/10.3390/v11030240

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