Guwahati: Amid global efforts to combat the coronavirus epidemic, an inquiry has been ordered by the government of India into a study conducted in Nagaland on bats and humans carrying antibodies to deadly viruses like Ebola.
The study, conducted in 2017, by researchers from India, USA and China, has come under the scanner, as two of the 12 researchers belonged to the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s department of Emerging Infectious Diseases, and the United States’ Department of Defence’s ‘Defence Threat Reduction Agency’ (DTRA) funded it.
Although the study was conducted in 2017, the inquiry was ordered recently as two of the researchers were from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, an institute located in the city of Wuhan from where the massive outbreak of the deadly coronavirus started.
As per reports, a five-member committee was sent by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to conduct the investigation.
The study was conducted on 85 bat hunters in Nagaland.
According to the study, the presence of filovirus reactive antibodies were found in “both human and bat populations in Northeast India, a region with no historical record of Ebola virus disease”.
The study, conducted in 2017, by researchers from India, US and China, has come under the scanner, as two of the 12 researchers belonged to the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s department of Emerging Infectious Diseases, and the United States’ Department of Defence’s ‘Defence Threat Reduction Agency’ (DTRA) funded it.
According to reports, the study in Nagaland suggests bats in South Asia act as a reservoir host of a diverse range of filovirus; and filovirus occurs through human exposure to these bats.
The scientists are being investigated for being allowed to access live samples of bats and bat hunters (humans) without due permissions. The results of the study were published in October 2019 in the PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases journal, originally established by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. They would have required special permissions as foreign entities, the report said.
The researchers were from the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in the US and the Duke-National University in Singapore.
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