“Bat shit crazy!” is the term Republican presidential candidates are being called by their own party members. I will let that disgusting innuendo about the potentially wonderful qualities of bat shit go, and consider what we should be seriously considering. In the New Scientist magazine of 13 February 2016, page 35-37, there is an article about bats. One of the surprising qualities of bats is their very long life expectancy for such a diminutive animal, especially since they seem to lead a precarious existence. One of the weird qualities of bats is the large number of deadly viral pathogens they carry, which are not deadly to them, but deadly to humans. Somehow the bats carry the viruses but at a very low density; thus if the density is low the disease symptoms are low, and they develop appropriate antibodies. In bat colonies more than half the individuals had antibodies to deadly diseases, such as Ebola, SARS, MERS, and other emerging diseases. In the recent Ebola outbreak there were 28,637 cases of human Ebola, and 11,315 fatalities, and all but one of these cases was caused by human-to-human transfer of the virus. That one case was of a two-year-old boy known to have been playing under a tree where there were abundant bat droppings. The World Health Organization (WHO) – 1st Chain of Transmission of Ebola: MELIANDOU chart shows Emile’s death as December 28, 2013. It was his grandmother Koumba who became the super spreader when she went from one doctor to another, from one city to another, trying to save her life. Unfortunately, no one knew what disease she had, and thus it took off. Emile may have only given the Ebola virus to his sister Philomena, and the sister gave it to their grandmother.
Okay now for the bat shit crazy idea. Obviously there is something about the bats’ biota that enables them to live in harmony with many diseases, and also to live for an extraordinary long time. Some tagged wild bats have been discovered living well 41 years later. That is shocking for an animal the size of a house mouse which might live one twentieth as long. Why the difference, and can whatever it is be applied to humans? There will be a lot of ethical quibbling about testing any very dangerous intestinal bat biome on humans, but some people would be willing to take a chance of ingesting some upper intestinal, semi-digested bat food if they thought they might live twenty times longer. Instead of fifty years, to live a thousand years. Probably there are people who routinely eat bats, and it might not be any problem for them to eat some of the intestine.
The recent, and ongoing, C. difficile outbreak has been a total disaster for those people taking antibiotics, and yet they are often cured with one treatment with healthy intestinal material.
If bat intestinal biota is as powerful as similar human biota, it may open a totally new field of medical practice.