Integrating Bat Ecology and Pathogen Surveillance: The Western Asia Bat Research Network

EcoHealth Alliance
Publié: 29 août 2022
Dernière modification: 29 août 2022
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Summary

The Western Asia Bat Research Network (WAB-Net) aims to enhance bat conservation and zoonotic disease detection through collaborative research and capacity building-focused trainings with bat biologists, virologists, government authorities, and academics from the region. WAB-Net coordinates research focused on bats, zoonotic diseases, and host-virus dynamics in 7 countries. This proactive approach to pandemic prevention aims to identify both zoonotic viruses before they spill over from bat hosts to humans and the risk factors associated with spillover. Field trainings, including proper PPE usage, bat capture and handling, and cold chain management, promote positive health outcomes for both the humans and bats. All samples are sent to two regional labs where trainings and standardized protocols are implemented, furthering biosafety and scientific advancement in the region. WAB-Net’s “bats for peace” mission promotes strengthened outcomes in both scientific discoveries and constructive political conversations.

Classifications

Region
Asie de l'Ouest, Moyen-Orient
Scale of implementation
Intranational
Multinational
National
Ecosystem
Désert chaud
Forêt de feuillus tempéré
Forêt sempervirente tempéré
Prairie tempérée, savane, maquis
Écosystèmes de désert
Écosystèmes forestiers
Écosystémes des prairies
Theme
Accès et partage des avantages
Cadre juridique et politique
Connectivité / conservation transfrontières
Gestion des espèces
One Health
Science et recherche
Species Conservation and One Health Interventions
Évaluation du statut de l'espèce
Surveillance de la santé de la faune (pour capturer la biodiversité, la santé, les maladies et la surveillance des agents pathogènes)
Surveillance des espèces et recherche
Espèce Maladie Systèmes d'alerte précoce
Planification de la conservation des espèces
Communication des risques, engagement communautaire et changement de comportement
Évaluation des risques
Enquête sur l'épidémie et accès au laboratoire
Mécanisme de coordination One Health
One Health
Santé animale
Lien entre la biodiversité et la santé
Maladies tropicales négligées, maladies infectieuses émergentes, maladies non- transmissibles, zoonoses, résistance aux agents antimicrobiens
Challenges
Perte de biodiversité
Utilisations conflictuelles / impacts cumulatifs
Perte de l'écosystème
Health
Manque de sensibilisation du public et des décideurs
Manque de capacités techniques
Mauvaise surveillance et application de la loi
Mauvaise gouvernance et participation

Emplacement

Armenia
Azerbaijan
Georgia
Jordan
Oman
Pakistan
Turkey

Challenges

The region of Western Asia is both geopolitically contentious and an understudied region in terms of the diversity and distribution of bat species and their associated viruses. Despite the critical ecological and economic roles that bats play in maintaining healthy ecosystems around the world, bats are greatly underappreciated especially compared to other more “charismatic” species. WAB-Net addresses multiple social and environmental challenges by finding commonalities and shared interests amongst regional One Health expertise, which has resulted in open communication, building of trust, and fostering collaborative relationships across the region. 

Beneficiaries

  • Humans in the region, their health and wellbeing
  • Bat species across the region, their health and conservation
  • Global human population, through pandemic prevention and positively enhanced geopolitical dynamics

Comment les blocs constitutifs interagissent-ils entre eux dans la solution?

The One Health approach is an inherently collaborative one – by valuing human, animal, and environmental health outcomes and recognizing their interdependence on one another, One Health encourages coordination across disciplines. WAB-Net utilizes a One Health approach and brings together multi-sectoral experts for regional discussions and trainings. By including each sector in their hands-on trainings WAB-Net is able to create well-informed and diverse field teams.

Impacts

Western Asia has been historically overlooked as ecologically important for bat species. The work of WAB-Net is filling in knowledge and awareness gaps for this crossroads location. The standardization of protocols at the two regional laboratories where all diagnostic samples are tested improves efficiency and increases scientists’ ability to repeat processes and compare results. The trainings provided are uniquely in-depth and hands-on, with scientists often spending weeks in-country with field teams demonstrating proper biosafety and nonlethal sampling procedures. This fosters long term relationships and allows for additional ecological data to be collected, advancing overall conservation and scientific goals. The collaborative nature of WAB-Net’s work also plays an essential role in building and maintaining relationships across diverse cultures, religions, and country lines.

Contribué par

Portrait de kellyrosenunziata_42006

Kelly Rose Nunziata EcoHealth Alliance