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Could the new coronavirus variant come from an animal host?
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Could the new coronavirus variant come from an animal host? WHO calls for enhanced surveillance.
The question of whether the new coronavirus can be transmitted from animals to humans has sparked global vigilance.
the Centre for Health Protection of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government Department of Health announced on January 18 that a female clerk in a pet shop in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong was infected with the delta strain of the new coronavirus, a female customer who had visited the pet shop and her husband Also initially diagnosed.
After testing, the Hong Kong Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department found that the new coronavirus test sample of the hamster in the pet shop was initially positive.
Chen Zhaoshi, director of the Food and Health Bureau of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, said that there is currently no evidence to prove that pets transmit the COVID-19 virus, but the situation of animal-to-human transmission cannot be ruled out, and relevant measures will still be taken.
On January 19, local time, the WHO called for an epidemiological investigation of the spread of the new coronavirus between humans and animals and targeted surveillance in its statement on the 10th meeting of the COVID-19 Pneumonia Emergency Committee.
There are concerns that some animals may be the hosts of the new coronavirus
After Hong Kong discovered the world’s first case of a hamster infected with the new coronavirus outside a laboratory, the Director of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation of Hong Kong, Leung Shiu-fai, said that the AFCD will take a series of preventive measures, including immediately stopping the import of all small mammals (including hamsters).
Hong Kong is also reviewing the quarantine requirements for the import of such animals, and all pet shops selling hamsters in Hong Kong must immediately close their business.
Although this discovery has not yet proved that the new coronavirus is transmitted to humans through hamsters, it still attracts many people’s attention to the phenomenon of the new coronavirus being transmitted from animals to humans.
On the evening of January 19, 2022, Hong Kong, China, Little Boss, a pet store in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, recently had a new coronavirus cluster infection involving hamsters.
That night, the staff of the Hong Kong SAR government went to the Mong Kok branch of the pet store to collect environmental samples.
In fact, there have long been international reports of animals infected with the new coronavirus.
The first confirmed animal-to-human transmission of the new coronavirus occurred during the 2020 outbreak on mink farms in the Netherlands.
According to the New York Times, in the months following the outbreak of the new coronavirus in mink in the Netherlands, outbreaks have also occurred on mink farms across Europe.
According to a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PANS) by USDA scientists in August 2021, 40% of wild white-tailed deer were found to be infected with the new coronavirus in four U.S. states.
A second study, led by Penn State University in the United States, also found the infection of wild white-tailed deer with the new coronavirus.
The study collected samples of wild white-tailed deer in Iowa and directly detected 80% of wild white-tailed deer infected with the new coronavirus by PCR testing.
Wild white-tailed deer are the most abundant deer in North America, with an estimated 30 million individuals.
U.S. research on white-tailed deer has some experts worried. Graeme Shannon, a zoologist at Bangor University in Wales, said: “Although experiments have shown that white-tailed deer infected with the new coronavirus are often asymptomatic, the spread of the disease caused by the new coronavirus in wildlife has important implications for human health.”
“These findings raise concerns that white-tailed deer may be a reservoir for SARS-CoV-2, which means that SARS-CoV-2 can easily infect large numbers of animals and, more worryingly, humans,” he added.
On Tuesday (January 18) local time, the results of a study released by the University of Pretoria in South Africa showed that lions have been confirmed to be infected with humans and show symptoms of the COVID-19. The disease could then mutate in animals and re-infect humans, the researchers said.
WHO: Strengthen surveillance of potential animal reservoirs for new coronavirus
As of the end of December 2021, the World Organization for Animal Health has recorded 625 outbreaks of 2019-nCoV infection in animals, affecting 17 species in 37 countries.
Mink farms in some countries have high outbreaks, and mutant strains have been found in weasels.
“Under the current epidemic situation, although community transmission and international transmission are mainly human-to-human transmission, the number of cases of COVID-19 virus infection in animals continues to increase.” The World Organization for Animal Health said in its “Report on COVID-19 Infections in Animals”.
Ken Smith, professor of pathology at the Royal Veterinary College of London, said cats, especially large species such as lions, tigers and leopards, appear to be more susceptible to the virus than canines. Among rodents, hamsters are particularly vulnerable.
However, Kens Hamilton, head of the World Organization for Animal Health, said: “We are very fortunate that research has shown that the main farm animals (pigs, cattle and sheep), unlike white-tailed deer, are somewhat resistant to the new coronavirus. … If they were also extremely susceptible, it would be a disaster.”
However, there is a potential threat. The Financial Times report believes that as the new coronavirus spreads between animals, more dangerous strains may emerge and then transfer to people.
The WHO took note of research on the transmission of the new coronavirus between humans and animals and issued a related statement on January 19. The statement said that the new coronavirus can infect multiple species and that mink and white-tailed deer are potential hosts for the new coronavirus, both of which have been confirmed.
Recently, there have also been many speculations that the new coronavirus variant Omicron has an unusual mutation that may have evolved in an animal host.
The WHO said in a statement that the possibility of Omicron emerging from animal hosts cannot be ruled out, and it is indeed necessary to strengthen the surveillance of animals infected with the new coronavirus genome.
At the end of the statement, WHO called for strengthening monitoring and data sharing of animal infection, transmission of the new coronavirus and its evolution, which will help to understand the possibility of new coronavirus variants mutating in animals, identify and evaluate them in a timely manner public health risk.
Could the new coronavirus variant come from an animal host?
(source:internet, reference only)