NCBS clarifies media reports on bat study in Nagaland

DIMAPUR, FEB 4 (NPN) | Publish Date: 2/4/2020 12:30:12 PM IST

Following media reports regarding study of bats in Nagaland, National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) has clarified that no biological samples or infectious agents were transferred into or out of India and stressed that the study had no connection with corona viruses.

In a statement, NCBS claimed that documentation regarding the study was transparent and was freely available in the public domain, and provided link of the published paper.
Mentioning that the statement was being issued to correct the record in public interest, NCBS appealed to the media, stakeholders and the public to only obtain information from reliable and verified sources, and help prevent spread of misinformation and panic during a global public health crisis. NCBS claimed that its researchers had been studying bat antibodies in Nagaland since 2012, adding the Programme in Emerging Infectious Diseases of Duke-National University of Singapore Medical School (Duke-NUS) had been studying bat populations across Southeast Asia, including in Singapore and Cambodia. 
In 2017, NCBS and Duke-NUS entered into a collaboration in which researchers based at NCBS collected samples of serum from bats and humans. The samples were tested at NCBS using technologies supplied by Duke-NUS. The results were shared with the Duke-NUS team, to compare with the data obtained from their Southeast Asian studies. This study was published in October 2019 in a paper entitled “Filovirus-reactive antibodies in humans and bats in Northeast imply zoonotic spillover”. It appeared in PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, a highly regarded peer-reviewed open-access journal whose articles were available without any subscription fee to all readers, the statement added.
NCBS further clarified that researchers from Wuhan Institute of Virology were not directly involved in the study. They were listed co-authors only because they supplied reagents critical to the study to Duke-NUS, which was a standard practice for scientific authorship.
As the corresponding author of the study was affiliated to Duke-NUS, the funding statement of the paper mentioned funding obtained by Duke-NUS from US Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA). However, it said that NCBS was not a direct recipient of research funds. Explaining that bats were major reservoirs of novel zoonotic diseases that were infectious and could transmit from animals to humans, NCBS said the 2018 nipah virus outbreak in India was thought to have originated from bats. Similarly, diseases like corona virus and ebola were thought to have originated in wild populations, it said.
Mentioning that such diseases were a major threat to public health, NCBS said that it was important to understand where outbreaks were likely to occur ahead of time, so that resources could be rapidly mobilised when required. An important part of this preparedness was to characterise the natural types of immune-system antibodies that were prevalent in wild populations of bats. This was especially important where bats came in close contact with humans, as was the case in Nagaland due to traditional hunting practices, it added.


Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

Desk:+91-3862-248 489, e-mail: Fax: +91-3862-248 500
Advt.:+91-3862-248 267,



Join us on

© Nagaland Post 2018. All Rights are Reserved
Designed by : 4C Plus