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Bat Flash: Countering Misinformation and Championing Evidence-Based Science

On March 6, 2024, the Wall Street Journal presented findings from the University of Leeds in their opinion piece, “Why Scientists Love Chasing Bats; The threat to humans from animal viruses is small. The financial incentive to pretend otherwise is large.They are of course referring to “virus hunters,” not researchers attempting to better understand bat values and needs. We at Merlin Tuttle’s Bat Conservation are greatly encouraged by this reporting of truth, confirming the assertions we made early on. Insufficient evidence exists to support the narrative that wildlife spillover events are an increasing cause of pandemics.

The Leeds authors conclude: “The implication is that the largest investment in international public health in history is based on misinterpretations of key evidence as well as a failure to thoroughly analyze existing data.”

This verifies our long-held position. Traditionally, studies of bat values, status, and needs have been woefully underfunded. Huge sums diverted for likely-to-be unproductive virus hunting in bats has only exacerbated this issue. Even when scientists use viruses in bats to justify conservation-based research, the end result often promotes more fear, undercutting the value of the studies. That is the greatest danger for bats. 

Contrary to popular belief, the risk of spillover events has likely been decreasing over the past decade according to the Leeds report, which reveals that claims made by influential bodies such as the G-20 and the World Health Organization are, unfortunately, not adequately supported by credible data.

In light of ongoing fears regarding pandemics, it’s essential to maintain perspective. Viruses new to humans, while concerning, pale in comparison to the devastating toll of diseases like malaria and tuberculosis. Investing in proven interventions like sanitation, nutrition, and healthcare infrastructure remains paramount in saving lives and preventing suffering.

Let’s not forget the remarkable advancements in virus detection technologies, which have revolutionized our ability to identify and respond to potential threats. Diseases like HIV and Nipah may have circulated long before detection, highlighting the importance of ongoing surveillance efforts.

Moreover, as we navigate the aftermath of COVID-19, it’s crucial to prioritize evidence-based approaches. While the origins of the virus remain a subject of debate, it’s clear that rigorous oversight of research activities, particularly those involving risky manipulations of potential pandemic viruses, is imperative.

In conclusion, let’s celebrate the power of knowledge and evidence in shaping our approach to global health challenges. By directing resources where they’re most needed and embracing a nuanced understanding of virus dynamics, we can forge a brighter, healthier future for all. Together, let’s continue our mission to protect both human and bat populations, ensuring a harmonious coexistence for generations.


We invite you to choose any or all means of sharing your THANKS and ENCOURAGEMENT for this positive press. We’re always especially excited to share praise-worthy Bat Flashes.

Our combined voices can make a difference. We invite you to briefly share your praise in your own words with producers and editors. They do take notice. Remember, your response can be very simple. Just let them know you like or dislike an article. It’s numbers that count and bats need all of you. Tell a friend about bat values and how they can help. Thank you for your vigilant support of bats, their conservation, and MTBC.

Show your support in the comments at the bottom of each article and/or share on Facebook and Twitter/X.


  • The Wall Street Journal (WSJ):
    • Email WSJ – Article information to include with your comments: Why Scientists Love Chasing Bats: The threat to humans from animal viruses is small. The financial incentive to pretend otherwise is large, released by the Wall Street Journal on March 6, 2024.
    • Author: Matt Ridley
    • Call The Wall Street Journal (WSJ)
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Michael Lazari Karapetian

Michael Lazari Karapetian has over twenty years of investment management experience. He has a degree in business management, is a certified NBA agent, and gained early experience as a money manager for the Bank of America where he established model portfolios for high-net-worth clients. In 2003 he founded Lazari Capital Management, Inc. and Lazari Asset Management, Inc.  He is President and CIO of both and manages over a half a billion in assets. In his personal time he champions philanthropic causes. He serves on the board of Moravian College and has a strong affinity for wildlife, both funding and volunteering on behalf of endangered species.