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Undergraduate Research Project Management System

Surveillance of coronaviruses in native Alaskan bats

Status Current
Seeking Researchers No
Start Date 06/18/2014
End Date 06/30/2015
Funding Source Undergraduate Research Grant
Funding Amount
Community Partner
Related Course
Last Updated 08/18/2014 11:48PM
Keywords coronavirus, bats

People

Faculty
  Douglas Causey

Student Researchers
  Maegan Lange

Abstract

Bats are a recently identified host reservoir for emerging infectious diseases. Their ability to disperse viruses into other species and across large areas is due to their ability to fly, long life spans, migration and hibernation habits, and their close association with humans. As contact between bat and human populations increases, virus spillover events (virus movement from bat to humans) are taking place at an increasing rate. Coronaviruses are ubiquitous viruses in wildlife, and are thought to be native in insectivorous bat populations, and the two recent coronavirus spillover events (MERS and SARS COV) showcase the potentially fatal results of virus movement from wildlife reservoirs into humans. Significant populations of Myotis lucifugus (Little Brown Bats) have been identified in the Anchorage area, where they live in close proximity to humans. My research will test my previously validated pan-coronavirus RT-PCR assay on bat samples from the Anchorage area, as well as throughout Alaska, and will begin
a baseline surveillance of coronavirus in Alaskan bats. A partnership with ADF&G and the Chugach forest section of USFS will provide bat swabs and samples.

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