Coronavirus Strains Found in Pets and Humans Share ‘Genetic Similarity’

In the open access journal PLOS ONE, a genetic and geographic analysis of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and related viruses may provide evidence of interspecies transmission worldwide between animals and animals. humans.

Previous research suggests that the coronavirus may have originated from genetic changes that have occurred among closely related viruses in horseshoe bats. Reports also suggest that the virus can spread from humans to domestic and wild animals (called flashback).

To provide further insight, Dr Ariful Islam of the EcoHealth Alliance and the Bangladesh Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research presented the results of a comprehensive genome sequence analysis of viruses linked to SARS- CoV-2 found in bats and pangolins and strains of SARS-CoV-2 that have been found in a variety of animals around the world, including dogs, cats and lions.

The analysis showed that the coronavirus strains found in animals are closely related to strains found in humans in the same geographic regions, which is evidence for the theory that human-to-animal transmission has occurred. produced worldwide. If the virus becomes established in host animals, the researchers said, then the animal species could serve as a reservoir for the coronavirus.

Several emerging variants of concern, including alpha, delta, and mu variants, have been detected in several countries in species such as dogs, gorillas, lions and cats. The variants showed “notable genetic similarity to human coronavirus sequences,” the researchers wrote.

The alpha variant of SARS-CoV-2, once the dominant variant in the United States, compromised only 2.6% of cat samples and 4.8% of dog samples, but 66.7% of gorilla samples and 77.3% of lion samples, according to the study.

The analysis found “a very strong similarity between the coronavirus and related viruses found in several species of horseshoe bats,” the researchers wrote, as well as a strong similarity to related viruses of the Malayan pangolin. The analysis supports the hypothesis that SARS-CoV-2 originated from closely related bat viruses that genetically recombined with each other, and that the virus also passed through pangolins, the researchers said.

Animals appear to be susceptible to the coronavirus and may contribute to its spread, the researchers noted. The researchers called for continued genetic surveillance of the coronavirus in animals. They also called for the prevention of contact between humans and infected animals, as well as the vaccination of pets, zoo animals and farm animals.

“The fallout and fallout from SARS-CoV-2 has been proven, and the mutant strain of the virus still dominates,” the study authors wrote. “It is our responsibility not to destroy the natural habitats of wildlife. As bats play an important role in maintaining a healthy ecosystem, we must work on how to live safely with bats. mice. We must not wait for the next pandemic, and we need to apply the One Health approach to ensure a healthier future for the world. “

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said the coronavirus can spread from humans to animals through close contact, although the risk of animals transmitting COVID-19 to humans is low. Pets can contract serious illness from infection with the coronavirus, the CDC reported, but this is “extremely rare.”

Pets around the world, including cats and dogs, have been infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, mainly after close contact with people with COVID-19, the CDC reported.

The CDC has also warned not to put a mask on your pet, as it could potentially harm the animal.

“If you are sick with COVID-19 (suspected or confirmed by a test), you should avoid contact with your pets and other animals, just as you would with people,” the CDC said. “Contact includes hugging, hugging, kissing, sharing food and sleeping in the same bed. “

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