Study Finds Animals are Vulnerable to COVID-19 Infection

Aug, 2021 - By SMI

Study Finds Animals are Vulnerable to COVID-19 Infection

A team of researchers from the University of Bern and the Institute of Virology and Immunology explored the susceptibility of different animals to COVID-19 infection.

The COVID-19 pandemic has posed a threat and challenge to the healthcare sector across the globe. Global population has been affected at large and scientists and researchers are trying to develop therapeutics to combat this virus. To date, however, it is unknown whether animals are vulnerable to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Numerous studies were conducted to determine whether animal species are affected by coronavirus. Throughout the pandemic, reports of animals getting infected with SARS-CoV-2 have emerged. There are evidences of transmission of coronavirus from keepers to tigers and lions at the New York Bronx Zoo. Moreover, infections in pets such as dogs and cats, farm animals like minks, and zoo animals such as tiger, lions, puma, gorillas, and others were also reported. In this study, the researchers collected advanced cell culture models of cells that line the airways of different domestic and wild animals. In this context, it is important to mention that researchers over the past two decades have observed zoonotic outbreaks of SARS in 2003 in China and Middle East respiratory syndrome in 2012 in Saudi Arabia. The researchers revealed that close human-to-animal interactions may drive zoonotic events. Although, human appear to be the main hosts of SARS-CoV-2, but its zoonotic origin are unknown. The researchers studied the vulnerability of different mammal species to SARS-CoV-2 in a controlled in vitro model. They examined cell cultures of 12 mammal species such as macaque, dog, cat, pig, rabbit, camel, two Neotropical bat species, and others. They isolated the cells from deceased animals for their study and did not conduct any animal experiments.

In a nutshell, the team of researchers found that SARS-CoV-2 effectively infected the respiratory cells from monkeys and cats. The researchers suggested that close monitoring is necessary for these animals.

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