Hepatitis C has been the target of virologists, epidemiologists and
geneticists for years, in a bid to find out the animal host from which
it likely came. But Prof Jonathan Ball, a virologist at the University
of Nottingham, UK, says early indications that bats are the culprit may
yet be proven wrong.
The omnipresent bat represents around one fifth of mammal species, yet remains strangely enigmatic.
Known to be the source of a range of human viral infections such as Sars and ebola, a recent study published in PNAS suggests that bats are a large natural reservoir to groups of viruses similar to the hepatitis C virus (HCV).