“Understanding the Risk of Bat-Borne Zoonotic Disease Emergence in Western Asia”. DTRA, 23.10.2017-23.10.2022.


Project Title: “Understanding the Risk of Bat-Borne Zoonotic Disease Emergence in Western Asia”. DTRA,  23.10.2017-23.10.2022.

Project Summary

Under the project activities we propose a multi-disciplinary research project to identify key factors correlated with the risk of bat viral zoonoses from sites across Western Asia.

a). Project Objectives:

To establish robust scientific research platform to understand zoonotic disease risk in

Western Asia.

Project’s goals:

  • Regional bat coronavirus characterization;

  • Creation of comprehensive models of spatial maps for bat origin viruses;

  • Bat specimen and disease ecology field data collection for prediction of viral disease;

  • Study of Coronaviruses strains to assess zoonotic spillover and spread risk.

b). Project implementation:

Western Asia Bat Research Network (WAB-Net) including four core countries; Georgia, Jordan, Pakistan, Turkey  and twelve participant countries. They will conduct all project activities.

Annually will be performed field sampling by Georgian Zoologists earlier they will be  trained under the project activities. 90 samples will be collected in three different location (totally 270) annually in Georgia, further they will be tested for presence of Coronaviruses.

Research activities will be strengthened via, laboratory exchanges and annual data sharing and capacity building annual workshops.

Data for risk modeling will be collated across a larger region than our field sampling will allow through the creation of a collaborative Western Asia Bat Research Network (WAB-Net) – including key researchers and public health representatives from >12 countries, All results will  liaise with regional and global stakeholders.

Two regional laboratories will lead pathogen characterization:

Center For Excellence In Biosafety, Biosecurity And Biotechnology Royal Scientific Society (Jordan); and R. Lugar Center for Public Health Research (Georgia).

c). Expected results:  

Under the project scope will be establish a statistically rigorous research platform to characterize endemic pathogen diversity for coronaviruses, a key viral family with known pandemic potential. Data on pathogen diversity, host distribution, and ecological traits will be curated, exchanged, and used to model zoonotic disease risk in these regions.

By the end of the proposed three-year base period of the project, plus two optional years will be collected valuable data about high priority bat pathogens and bat born disease.