Covid-19: How bats are helping the Natural History Museum to try to solve origins of the pandemic

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  • The Telegraph published this video item, entitled “Covid-19: How bats are helping the Natural History Museum to try to solve origins of the pandemic” – below is their description.

    The Natural History Museum has unearthed a “treasure trove” of thousands of bat skulls, skins and pickled specimens dating back roughly three hundred years, which researchers hope may shed light on the origins of pandemics – including Covid-19.

    By indexing roughly 12,000 samples from three major bat families stored deep in its vaults, the museum aims to help scientists trace where the flying mammals have lived over centuries, and how the viruses they carry “spillover” to humans.

    Technological advances in DNA sampling mean pathogens lurking inside the pickled specimens – many dating back to the British Empire – may also be revealed for the first time.

    Our Global Health Security correspondent Sarah Newey was given exclusive access to the Museum’s bat collection, which includes specimens that pre-date 1753 – when the world renowned institution was founded. This is what she found.

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    In This Story: British Empire

    The British Empire was the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates, and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. It began with the overseas possessions and trading posts established by England between the late 16th and early 18th centuries.

    Fourteen overseas territories remain under British sovereignty.

    After independence, many former British colonies joined the Commonwealth of Nations, a free association of independent states. The United Kingdom is now one of 16 Commonwealth nations, that share a monarch, currently Queen Elizabeth II.

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