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MSU receives $10 million grant to study bat viruses

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After receiving a $10 million grant, Montana State University will study how the deadly viruses contracted by humans start in bats.

MSU professor Raina Plowright said the grant will go a long way.

"This kind of work is expensive to do," Plowright said. "We actually have a large group of people in Montana who work on bat viruses."

Students from the Bozeman campus will study bats in Australia, Bangladesh, Madagascar and Ghana that carry henipaviruses like SARS and Ebola.

Plowright says up to three quarters of people infected don't survive.

Researchers hope by studying bats where the virus originates, they can prevent infections in humans.

Grad students are paid a stipend and have their travel, housing and university fees taken care of. Some undergraduate students will earn fellowships during the summer.

Plowright added that her extensive research studies, along with partners like Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton, made the home of the Bobcats an appealing choice for the funding.

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