TWiV 668: Mice, bats, and coronaviruses with Tony Schountz

October 1, 2020

Tony Schountz joins TWiV to explain the work of his laboratory showing that deer mice can be infected with and transmit SARS-CoV-2, and how his colony of Jamaican fruit bats is being used to understand their response to virus infections.

Hosts: Vincent Racaniello, Rich Condit, Kathy Spindler and Brianne Barker

Guest: Tony Schountz

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Intro music is by Ronald Jenkees

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11 comments on “TWiV 668: Mice, bats, and coronaviruses with Tony Schountz

  1. Fascinating discussion of rodents, bats and virus. I was a bit surprised that flight cages for bats are as small as they are, but they are larger than my living room. One night we were alerted by our cats that something was going on. It turned out a bat flying around our living room. We have no idea how it got in and it certainly wanted out. After sequestering the cats we opened the front door; the bat took awhile to find it, but it finally flew away. So I guess if the bat can fly freely in a space as small as my living room.

  2. michaeldelahunt Oct 2, 2020

    still believe this warrants close watching…..

  3. JJackson Oct 3, 2020

    Re. The H17/18 change of receptor binding. I thought MHC class2 were principality limited to immune cells and those that has already been infected, have I got this wrong? If true then what is the transmission route respiratory, fecal oral?

  4. Jeffery Biss Oct 4, 2020

    Nonhuman animals have the same claim to rights that we do because we consider ourselves moral and that demands that we treat them as we would humans in the same experiment. That we don’t kill humans to study the effects of disease so too we end the killing of nonhumans and use the same nonlethal methods on them as we do for humans. their lives are not ours to do with as we please.

  5. Jay S Oct 5, 2020

    When we compute estimated total infection/death rates for the “no mitigation” approach, keep in mind that the herd immunity threshold is *not* the same as the final infection rate – it’s just the inflection point where r0 naturally drops below 1. So long as other mitigation efforts aren’t in place, the epidemic will certainly continue beyond the threshold (and the degree to which it does depends on a lot of factors).

    Between that and the issue of relatively short-term sterilizing immunity, the seropositivity rate for common cold coronaviruses that you mentioned is likely a much better estimate of the final total infection rate for SARS-CoV-2 than estimates of the herd immunity threshold, though the dynamics of uncontrolled novel SARS-CoV-2 will be different that endemic coronaviruses.

  6. Jon Wurl Oct 6, 2020

    I am probably not the first person to mention this, but when the question was put to Dr Schounts about other pathogens involving deer mice, I believe the white footed mouse is a deer mouse, and it is a key part of the life cycle of the virus causing Lyme disease, and he didn’t mention it.

    Great episode BTW!

    • Jon Wurl Oct 6, 2020

      Schountz — sorry.

      • Jon Wurl Oct 6, 2020

        Not virus!! Bacteria cause Lyme disease! I knew that, I just blundered while typing.

  7. Richard Cornell Oct 7, 2020

    Your comments on mice was interesting and reminded me of the time I was asked by a instructor in Grad school to help with housing some mice for a few weeks. 18 cages went into my station wagon plus mice feed. I also was given lab coat, clothing, mask, gloves plus a rack to keep the cages in. For 3 weeks the odor mice filled the house. Did as told fed the little guys, clean up after them and played classical music for them.
    Being a Grad student one learns not to ask to many questions about why a few students were asked to care for the little critters. 3 weeks later a truck stopped in front of the house and those mice left my care.
    Rumors were as such that those mice were part of a research project that a local religious group believe that our research was against their beliefs. Something like that and they cause trouble resulting in the placed being raided.
    Could be except that the lab room house filing cabinets when they got there.
    I think I got credit for a course I never took.