Bat disease: Could white-nose fungus help find an AIDS cure?

Can Devastating Bat Disease Provide Clues on AIDS?

Trending News Channel
Videos Highlighting The Latest Search Trends.
Dec. 10 2012 1:30 PM

Can Devastating Bat Disease Provide Clues on AIDS?

Can research on a bat-killing disease help in the fight against AIDS?

White-nose fungus has killed between 5 million and 7 million bats of various species since it was first discovered in 2008, and even many survivors of the disease still died later with their bodies in tatters. That led a scientist for the U.S. Geological Survey to conclude that the bats' immune systems, nearly shut down during hibernation, became hyperaggressive when the bats awoke, destroying not only the white-nose disease but also healthy cells and tissue.


A similar immune-system attack occurs in patients with AIDS. Though the reaction happens differently in humans, researchers believe that studying the bats' reaction to white-nose fungus may help develop a treatment for AIDS.

Unfortunately, the new research didn’t find much hope for the bats. In Pennsylvania, 95 percent of the little brown-bat population has died out, leading to ecological threats from insect overpopulation.

  News & Politics
March 31 2015 5:00 AM How the Founder of the Fugees Became a Big-Time Political Donor Without Anyone Knowing The musical artist chose to fund a super PAC through opaque, legal, and increasingly popular means.
  Slate Plus
March 30 2015 11:32 AM The “How Does a U.N. Official Work?” Transcript What’s it like to manage the U.N.’s Ebola response? Read a transcript of Adam Davidson’s conversation with the assistant secretary-general for field support.