SARS-CoV-2 pathogenesis in human and bat cells and development of in vitro and in vivo infection models
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus – 2 (SARS-CoV-2) emerged in December 2019 and has infected over 60,000 people, of which over 1800 have died. SARS-CoV-2 shares 96% similarity with a coronavirus found in bats. Bats have been shown to carry a diversity of viruses including coronaviruses globally, without showing signs of disease. Also, major circulating and endemic coronaviruses that are causing disease in humans are speculated to have evolved in bats. Our team’s extensive experience in studying coronaviruses in bat and human systems, will allow us to understand interactions of SARS-CoV-2 in bats and humans using a holistic ‘One Health’ approach. The main objectives of our proposal are to investigate how cell anti-viral responses are induced in human (spillover host) and bat (reservoir host) cells, and to develop animal models to facilitate rapid testing of vaccine candidates and therapeutics.