According to a study, BATS could hold the key to fighting aging and even some heart diseases.
Scientists have studied how bats’ resilience to deadly diseases could help humans fight their own diseases.
Bats are known to be spared from deadly pathogens such as the Ebola virus and COVID-19.
But now researchers at Duke-NUS Medical School have found a unique protein that is behind bat immunity.
With the help of genetic engineering, it is hoped that this protein could help fight immune diseases such as arthritis in humans.
researcher dr. Linfa Wang narrated The Telegraph said the protein ASC2 dampens the immune response, which can lead to deadly inflammation in humans.
He explained, “This may not be the only factor, as biology is never as simple as a molecule or a pathway.”
“But the overall reduction in inflammation most likely plays a role in aging bat health.”
“We have pending patents based on this work and are exploring commercial drug discovery partnerships.
“We hope to develop a new class of anti-inflammatory drugs for human diseases caused by inflammasomes.”
And the study shows promise after halving the death rate from an influenza virus in mice given the unique protein.
The team explained: “Our results reveal an important mechanism by which bats limit excessive virus-induced and stress-induced inflammation, which has implications for their longevity.”
If successful, it means people suffering from inflammatory conditions like arthritis and heart disease could also have an improved quality of life.
Last year, experts warned that people with a common form of arthritis are at significantly higher risk of a deadly disease.
Gout is a form of arthritis in which small crystals form in and around the joints, causing pain.
There are sudden, severe flare-ups that can be triggered by a heavy meal or alcohol.
A gouty episode typically lasts five to seven days and begins with pain in joints such as toes, elbows, and wrists.
But researchers have now identified a more serious side effect that can occur up to four months after gout.
Researchers, including scientists from the University of Nottingham and Keele University, looked at whether these people had suffered a cardiovascular event, such as a heart attack or stroke.
They found that in this group, 10,475 patients suffered a cardiovascular event.
Patients who had had a heart attack or stroke were almost twice as likely to have had a gout attack in the previous two months.