Friday, 4 June 2021

Malevolent Designer News - The Malevolent Designer Hasn't Given Up on Zika Virus

Map of Uganda, with trap sites indicated by black circles and positive sites indicated by red stars (Python Cave, Maramagambo Forest: Egyptian rousette bat, 2009 (n = 1); Kawuku: Ethiopian epauletted fruit bat, 2013 (n = 1); Bugonga: African straw-colored fruit bat, 2011 (n = 2)).
Map was created using QGIS 3.4.2 (
CSU researchers make first-ever discovery of Zika virus RNA in free-ranging African bats

Creationist mode:

Spurred on by the success of its coronavirus in killing millions of humans and leaving many times more with long-term health problems and disabilities, Creationism's Intelligent [sic] Designer may have improved on its Zika virus (ZIKV) design to make it more capable of causing microencephaly and permanent disability in new-born children.

According to a discovery by Colorado State University (CSU) scientists, ZIKAV can be carried and may be widely dispersed by bats, in an eerie use of the same order of mammals in which Creationism's putative designer of all living things, developed the coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, currently responsible for its best attempt at a global genocide of humans for a century, with Covid-19.

SARS-CoV-2 is still rampaging across the world, ruining economies as governments try to minimise its spread and prevent medical resources being overwhelmed, causing thousands of deaths a day and leaving hundreds of thousands of victims suffering from long-term disabilities. (The toll to date (June 3, 2021) is 171,829,997 confirmed cases and 3,694,668 deaths).

The Colorado University team, led by veterinary postdoctoral fellow Dr. Anna Fagre, a researcher at CSUs Center for Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases, detected Zika virus RNA in free-ranging African bats. ZIKV is a flavivirus from the same family of viruses that cause dengue and West Nile Fever.

According to the CSU news release:
We knew that flaviviruses were circulating in bats, and we had serological evidence for that. We wondered: Were bats exposed to the virus or could they have some involvement in transmission of Zika virus?

There is always a concern about zoonotic viruses. The potential for another outbreak is there and it could go quiet for a while. We know that in the Zika forest, where the virus was first found, the virus is in non-human primates. There are still some questions with that as well. I don’t think Zika virus has gone away forever.

Assistant Professor Rebekah C. Kading, Senior author Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA
The team used 198 samples from bats gathered in the Zika Forest and surrounding areas in Uganda and confirmed Zika virus in four bats representing three species. Samples used in the study date back to 2009 from different parts of Uganda, years prior to the large outbreaks of Zika virus in 2015 to 2017 in North and South Americas...

The virus detected by the team in the bats was most closely related to the Asian lineage Zika virus, the strain that caused the epidemic in the Americas following outbreaks in Micronesia and French Polynesia. The first detection of the Asian lineage Zika virus in Africa was in late 2016 in Angola and Cape Verde.
However, the team warn that the sample was too small to say for sure that bats may be amplifying hosts or reservoir hosts and may only be incidental hosts, so it is uncertain whether they play a significant part in the transmission of the virus to humans. Nevertheless, that it can infect bats raises the possibility that, as is suspected with SARS-CoV-2, bats could be sources of novel mutations of ZIKV.

Our positive samples, which are most closely related to the Asian lineage Zika virus, came from bats sampled from 2009 to 2013. This could mean that the Asian lineage strain of the virus has been present on the African continent longer than we originally thought, or it could mean that there was a fair amount of viral evolution and genomic changes that occurred in African lineage Zika virus that we were not previously aware of.

Given that these results are from a single cross-sectional study, it would be risky and premature to draw any conclusions about the ecology and epidemiology of this pathogen, based on our study. Studies like this only tell one part of the story.

Anna C. Fagre, Co-lead author
Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA

Creationist mode:

The team's findings were published, open access in the Nature Research journal, Scientific Reports:
Serological cross-reactivity among flaviviruses makes determining the prior arbovirus exposure of animals challenging in areas where multiple flavivirus strains are circulating. We hypothesized that prior infection with ZIKV could be confirmed through the presence of subgenomic flavivirus RNA (sfRNA) of the 3′ untranslated region (UTR), which persists in tissues due to XRN-1 stalling during RNA decay. We amplified ZIKV sfRNA but not NS5 from three experimentally-infected Jamaican fruit bats, supporting the hypothesis of sfRNA tissue persistence. Applying this approach to 198 field samples from Uganda, we confirmed presence of ZIKV sfRNA, but not NS5, in four bats representing three species: Eidolon helvum (n = 2), Epomophorus labiatus (n = 1), and Rousettus aegyptiacus (n = 1). Amplified sequence was most closely related to Asian lineage ZIKV. Our results support the use of sfRNA as a means of identifying previous flavivirus infection and describe the first detection of ZIKV RNA in East African bats.

The usual challenge for ID Creationists then:

Why is the only explanation for this situation, as with so many of these parasites, that doesn't leave your beloved creator god looking like a malevolent monster who hates his creation and is constantly looking for ways to make it suffer, the entirely unintelligent, amoral, natural process - Darwinian evolution by natural selection?

Answers below, please.

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