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Application of metagenomics for studies of viral diversity in bats and analysis of the inhibitory activity of peptides against viral isolates


Studies of viral diversity, from their animal reservoirs, are essential for comprehensive surveillance regarding the identification and tracking of zoonoses. In this context, bats are recognized as the main reservoirs of several species of zoonotic viruses. Among these zoonotic pathogens, RNA viruses represent a heavy burden on human and animal health, as they are the etiological agents of many diseases including, for example, COVID-19, AIDS, influenza, Ebola, dengue fever, Zika, Chikungunya fever. Lately, technological advances and the use of metagenomics have elucidated the bat virome. However, in Brazil this profile of studies has been scarce and carried out in restricted locations, making it difficult to access the viral diversity of the 181 species of bats that circulate in the country. In view of this, the present study proposes to use metagenomics in order to elucidate the variability and mapping of RNA viruses in bats captured in the rural area of the microregion of São José do Rio Preto-SP and Barreira-BA. It is also intended to collect samples from bats in close contact with humans, addressing possible transmission routes. Furthermore, after the metagenomic data generated, it is intended to use the viral isolates for testing peptides obtained by Phage Display, in order to analyze its antiviral activity. Based on this innovative and relevant research, it is expected to find diversity and new species of RNA viruses emerging from the families Paramyxoviridae, Arenaviridae, Hantaviridae and Coronaviridae from organs, feces and oral swabs of bats circulating in the aforementioned regions. These data generated from high performance sequencing will provide valuable information regarding viral heterogeneity arising from bats. Additionally, it is expected that the rational selection of peptides will be promising in terms of viral inhibition, providing essential information regarding the discovery of viral protein of exosite ligands. Collectively, the data generated is extremely important as it will amplify knowledge and encourage future research related to the topic in question. (AU)

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