Could editing the genomes of bats prevent future coronavirus pandemics? Two scientists think it’s worth a try

Amid the devastating Covid-19 pandemic, two researchers are proposing a drastic way to stop future pandemics: using a technology called a gene drive to rewrite the DNA of bats to prevent them from becoming infected with coronaviruses.

The scientists aim to block spillover events, in which viruses jump from infected bats to humans — one suspected source of the coronavirus that causes Covid. Spillover events are thought to have sparked other coronavirus outbreaks as well, including SARS-1 in the early 2000s and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).

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