Bats could be a key to help prevent a future pandemic.

In the latest episode of Washington State Magazine’s podcast Viewscapes, Washington State University researchers Stephanie Seifert and Michael Letko explain why the flying mammals are important for improving understanding of viruses and diseases that spill over from animals to humans, such as Ebola, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), and SARS‑CoV‑2 novel coronavirus that causes COVID‑19.

Seifert and Letko also take on misconceptions about the COVID‑19 pandemic and talk about the challenges of studying bats.

Both scientists work in the Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health, where Seifert is a research assistant professor studying molecular ecology. Letko is an assistant professor and molecular virologist focused on cross-species transmission and viral-host interactions.

WSU science writer Sara Zaske is the guest host.

You can read more about Letko’s coronavirus research in “Viral haystack” in the fall 2020 issue of the magazine.

Listen to Seifert and Letko on the Viewscapes podcast

The Viewscapes podcast is available on the Washington State Magazine website, as well as on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and most major podcast directories. Recent episodes include stories such as the challenges of being a parent and a scientist, Glenn Johnson as 40 years as “Voice of the Cougs,” and innovative sound art at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at WSU.