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Experimental infection of Mexican free-tailed bats (Tadarida brasiliensis) with SARS-CoV-2

July 27, 2022

We experimentally challenged wild Mexican free-tailed bats (TABR) with SARS-CoV-2 to determine the susceptibility, reservoir potential, and population impacts of infection in this species. Of nine bats oronasally inoculated with SARS-CoV-2, five became infected and orally excreted moderate amounts of virus for up to 18 days post inoculation. These five subjects all seroconverted and cleared the virus before the end of the study with no obvious clinical signs of disease. We additionally found no evidence of viral transmission to uninoculated subjects. These results indicate that while TABR are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection, infection of wild populations of TABR would not likely cause mortality.