Pneumonia epidemic: seeing global prevention and control risks from animals infected with new coronavirus

Pneumonia epidemic: seeing global prevention and control risks from animals infected with new coronavirus
The pneumonia epidemic continues to spread throughout the world. China and foreign countries have recently proved that the new coronavirus can infect animals, and the global epidemic prevention and control are facing new challenges.

The first is that some scientific teams in China have proposed academic certification in this regard.

A paper published on the international academic platform by the team of Professor Shi Zhengli from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences showed that they sampled 102 cats during the Wuhan epidemic and 14.7% of them were infected with the new coronavirus.

Previous studies have shown that cats may be potential susceptible animals for the new coronavirus. A team of academician Chen Hualan from the Harbin Veterinary Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences found that the new coronavirus replicates very efficiently in ferrets and cats, but has weak replication capacity in dogs, pigs, chickens and ducks.

The study also found that the new coronavirus can spread between cats through respiratory droplets.

The research results of this thesis were also reported by the journal Nature.

In addition, in Hong Kong and Taiwan, some researchers began to investigate the infectivity of cats and dogs to the new coronavirus.

Not long ago, a spokesman for the Hong Kong Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said that a local mixed-breed shorthair cat tested positive for the new coronavirus, which caused widespread concern.

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A Malayan tiger infected with the new coronavirus in the Bronx Zoo in New York City (Profile picture)
Animals are infected with viruses
Coincidentally, a tiger in the Bronx Zoo in New York City was diagnosed with the New Coronavirus by the Iowa Veterinary Laboratory in the United States. It is the first case in the United States of animals with new coronavirus.

This was diagnosed as a 4 year old Malayan female tiger named Nadia. The zoo official stated that Nadia and three other tigers and three African lions developed symptoms of dry cough and decreased appetite. After testing, Nadia's result was positive.

The zoo's veterinarian said the animals were infected by an asymptomatic employee.

The zoo ’s chief veterinarian Kahler also said that this is the world ’s first case of a human-infected animal causing the animal to become sick.

The zoo said it will pay close attention to whether other animals will be infected. But they said that these lions will gradually return to health.

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The Wildlife Conservation Association called for a ban on wildlife trading.
Animals and New Coronavirus
The question of whether animals are infected with the new coronavirus has been in the public eye for a long time. Among them, some animals have been confirmed to be infected, and some are suspected to be intermediate hosts.

After the emergence of the new coronavirus, it was sequenced and found to be homologous to SARS virus, with a similarity of 79.5%. The new coronavirus is a SARS-related coronavirus.

Because the source of the SARS virus is bats, some scientists initially suspected that the new coronavirus came from the natural virus bank bat. In particular, the team of Shi Zhengli, the Institute of Virus Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, announced that the coronavirus gene sequence in Chinese chrysanthemum head bats is 96% similar to the new coronavirus.

Before and after this, Yuan Guoyong and other teams from the University of Hong Kong discovered SARS-associated coronaviruses in Malayan pangolins smuggled into China, but the genetic sequence was only about 90% similar to the new coronaviruses.

The Chinese media have also vigorously rendered the above reports before and after the outbreak of the Chinese epidemic and the closure of Wuhan, including news of the sale of wild animals in the South China Seafood Market in Wuhan and the eating of bats by certain Hubei people, linking the animals to the new coronavirus.

There are also theoretical predictions of intermediate hosts for new coronaviruses including animals such as snakes, mice and domestic pigs.

Image caption
The study found that the pandas in Banda Aceh, Indonesia are related to SARS.
There is no research conclusion
But at present, no matter in the international academic community or clinical medicine, there is no research conclusion about the specific role of these animals in the spread of new coronavirus.

Researchers point out that cats are easily infected with new coronavirus as a result of laboratory tests, which does not mean that cats are easily infected in reality. Because the virus dose used in laboratory tests is far beyond the actual environment.

Shi Zhengli's team also added to the social concerns that cats may be infected with the new coronavirus, and even if the cat may be infected, it does not mean that the cat will infect other cat groups or even people.

Many animal researchers say that there is no evidence that pet cats and dogs can transmit the new coronavirus.

While the new coronavirus epidemic is still spreading, many questions still need to be answered by scientific researchers from all over the world.

WHO Director-General Tan Desai repeatedly stressed that when fighting the new coronary pneumonia epidemic together, it needs facts, not fears; science, not rumors; unity, not stigmatization.