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  • Nipah, Hendra, Ebola, Marburg, SARS.


  • These are some of the world's scariest viruses.


  • Hemorrhagic fevers like Ebola are extremely fatal.


  • They kill up to 90 percent of people infected while SARS, a coronavirus, has a lower mortality rate but spreads incredibly rapidly.

    患者の最大90%が死亡します。SARS コロナウイルスはそれほどでは ありませんが、とても速く拡散します。

  • All of these nasty pathogens have surfaced in humans in just the last 50 years, and they are all carried by bats.

    これらの厄介な病原菌が人間と接触するように なったのは、ここ50年ほどのことです。そしてそれら全てをコウモリが媒介します。

  • Which, to be clear, really isn't bats' fault.


  • The recent rise in outbreaks is likely due to humans and our animals creeping ever farther into bats' territory, especially in the tropics.


  • In Malaysia, for example, the spread of commercial pig farms into bat-inhabited forests led to the first human outbreakvia pigsof Nipah.


  • And in Australia, human Hendra cases are cropping up as destruction of native forests forces fruit bats to feed in suburban gardens.

    オーストラリアでは、森林破壊によりコウモリは郊外の庭で 食事せざるを得なくなりました。

  • But still, bats do appear to carry more human-killing diseases than pretty much any other animal.

    それにしても、コウモリが運ぶ殺人ウイルスは 他のどの動物よりも多いように思えます。

  • One big reason is that, with a few notable exceptions, bats love company.


  • Different kinds of bats often roost together in huge numbers and close quarters, which helps viruses spread not just between individuals, but also between species.

    何種ものおびただしい数のコウモリが 狭苦しい所に一緒に住んでいることがよくあり、ウイルスの個体間のみならず種間の拡散が起こりやすくなっています。

  • What's more, most infected bats don't die.

    さらに、感染したコウモリのほとんどは 死にません

  • They live pretty normal bat livesflapping around and giving the viruses time to spread.


  • In fact, flight may be the reason bats are so resilient to infection.


  • As a rule, mammals can't produce the immense amount of energy needed for flight without also producing a lot of reactive waste products that damage our DNA.

    一般に、哺乳類が飛ぶには 膨大なエネルギーが必要で、その際 DNA にダメージを与える反応性の高い廃棄物が生まれます。

  • So when our bat cousins took to the air, they leveled up their in-flight DNA damage repair kits and other defenses, including specialized cells that keep viral invaders in check.

    そのため我らがコウモリは空に飛び立つと同時にフライト用の DNA 修復キットと、侵略ウイルスを監視する特殊な細胞を含むその他の防御策を 獲得したのです。

  • So bats can survive the deadly viruses, but what may matter even more, for humans anyway, is how the viruses survive the bats.


  • Nasty as they are, most viruses are also extremely finicky.

    厄介なだけでなく、ほとんどのウイルスは とても気難し屋です。

  • In order to thrive, they require the perfectly controlled climate inside a normal, resting, on-the-ground mammal.

    生きるために、彼らは普通の安静時の哺乳類の中の、完璧に コントロールされた環境を必要とします。

  • But when bats take to the air, their internal temperatures cruise to around 40°C.

    しかしコウモリが飛び立つと、体内温度は 容易に40℃ほどまで上昇します。

  • Those frequent in-flight saunas are far too toasty for your average virus, but a few hardy viruses have evolved to tolerate the heat, which, incidentally, means they can definitely weather a meager human fever.

    頻繁に起こるこの機内サウナは、普通のウイルスには 暑すぎます。しかし少数の我慢強いウイルスは熱に耐えるように進化してきました。これにより偶然、人間のなけなしの熱も乗り切れるようになったのです。

  • Essentially, flight may have helped bats gain virtual immunity to viruses AND trained viruses to be virtually immune to us.

    基本的に、飛行はコウモリが ウイルスへの免疫を獲得する手助けになると同時に、ウイルスが事実上私たちへの抵抗性を獲得する訓練にもなったのです。

  • Stupid flying.


  • So, what should we landlubbers do?


  • We need bats for insect control and pollination, and a whole bunch of other things.


  • Maybe we could even learn some immune tricks from them, like how to be really good at not getting cancer!


  • Plus, bats aren't the biggest carriers of human disease.


  • Humans are, just do the math.


  • Perhaps we'd be better off leaving bats alone, and trying to control the spread of diseases carried by a different kind of flying mammal.


Nipah, Hendra, Ebola, Marburg, SARS.


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