The Covid19 sanitary crisis has revealed the importance of improving our knowledge of the coronaviruses circulating in wildlife reservoirs. These last months, most of the attention has been focused on bats as the main reservoirs of coronaviruses in wildlife. However we should not neglect the importance of rodents as another major group of potential reservoirs of zoonotic agents, including coronaviruses, that are likely to be transmitted to humans. Indeed,

- Rodents are highly diversified (among the 6500 mammal species, >2500 are rodents while only 1400 are bats)

- The absolute number of viruses carried by rodents is higher than those carried by bats

- Some rodent species can be found in a large array of environments, from wild to commensal habitats. These generalist species can therefore act as ‘bridge hosts’, i.e. they may act as a link in an interspecies transmission chain, that would enable pathogen spill-over from wildlife to humans.

- Contacts between rodents and humans are highly frequent, due to their high abundance in field crops and cities, their ability to live in close proximity with people both as pests and as pets and their consumption, for example in Africa and Asia.

- Several rodent species are among the top 100 invasive species, making  them efficient spreaders of pathogens throughout the world.

- Some human coronaviruses speciated from rodent-associated coronaviruses.


BioRodDis-Covid19 will investigate the risk of coronaviruses emergence and its links with biodiversity in all case studies (forests and urban sites) included in the BioRodDis project. In addition to rodent samples, bat guano will also be collected in 2021, from May to September, to investigate the seasonal variations of bat coronavirus prevalence.

Modification date: 18 July 2023 | Publication date: 09 March 2021 | By: N Charbonnel