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1.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-311585

ABSTRACT

It has been a long time since the world has experienced a pandemic with such a rapid devastating impact as the current COVID-19 pandemic. The causative agent, the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is further unusual in that it appears capable of infecting many different mammal species. As a significant proportion of people worldwide are infected with SARS-CoV-2 and may spread the infection unknowingly before symptoms occur or without any symptoms ever occurring, there is a non-negligible risk of humans spreading SARS-CoV-2 to wildlife, in particular mammals. Because of SARS-CoV-2’s evolutionary origins in bats and reports of humans transmitting the virus to pets and zoo animals, regulations for prevention of human-to-animal transmission have so far focused mostly on these animal groups. Here, we summarize recent studies and reports that show that a wide range of distantly related mammals are likely susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 and that susceptibility or resistance to the virus is in general not predictable, or only to some extent, by phylogenetic proximity to known susceptible or resistant hosts. In the absence of solid evidence on the SARS-CoV-2 susceptibility/resistance for each of the >5,500 mammal species, we argue that sanitary precautions should be taken when interacting with any mammal species in the wild. Preventing human-to-wildlife SARS-CoV-2 transmission is important for protecting these (sometimes endangered) animals from disease, but also to avoid establishment of novel SARS-CoV-2 reservoirs in wild animals. The risk of repeated re-infection of humans from such a wildlife reservoir could severely hamper SARS-CoV-2 control efforts. For wildlife fieldworkers interacting directly or indirectly with mammals, we recommend sanitary precautions such as physical distancing, wearing face masks and gloves, and frequent decontamination, which are very similar to regulations currently imposed to prevent transmission among humans.

2.
2021.
Preprint in English | Other preprints | ID: ppcovidwho-294504

ABSTRACT

Background SARS-CoV-2 human-to-animal transmission can lead to the establishment of novel reservoirs and the evolution of new variants with the potential to start new outbreaks in humans. Aim We tested Norway rats inhabiting the sewer system of Antwerp, Belgium, for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 following a local COVID-19 epidemic peak. In addition, we discuss the use and interpretation of SARS-CoV-2 serological tests on non-human samples. Methods Between November and December 2020, Norway rat oral swabs, feces and tissues from the sewer system of Antwerp were collected to be tested by RT-qPCR for the presence of SARS-CoV-2. Serum samples were screened for the presence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibodies using a Luminex microsphere immunoassay (MIA). Samples considered positive were then checked for neutralizing antibodies using a conventional viral neutralization test (cVNT). Results The serum of 35 rats was tested by MIA showing 3 potentially positive sera that were later shown to be negative by cVNT. All tissue samples of 39 rats analyzed tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 RNA. Conclusion This is the first study that evaluates SARS-CoV-2 infection in urban rats. We can conclude that the sample of 39 rats had never been infected with SARS-CoV-2. We show that diagnostic serology tests can give misleading results when applied on non-human samples. SARS-CoV-2 monitoring activities should continue due to the emergence of new variants prone to infect Muridae rodents.

3.
Transbound Emerg Dis ; 2021 Jul 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1295139

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 human-to-animal transmission can lead to the establishment of novel reservoirs and the evolution of new variants with the potential to start new outbreaks in humans. We tested Norway rats inhabiting the sewer system of Antwerp, Belgium, for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 following a local COVID-19 epidemic peak. In addition, we discuss the use and interpretation of SARS-CoV-2 serological tests on non-human samples. Between November and December 2020, Norway rat oral swabs, faeces and tissues from the sewer system of Antwerp were collected to be tested by RT-qPCR for the presence of SARS-CoV-2. Serum samples were screened for the presence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibodies using a Luminex microsphere immunoassay (MIA). Samples considered positive were then checked for neutralizing antibodies using a conventional viral neutralization test (cVNT). The serum of 35 rats was tested by MIA showing three potentially positive sera that were later negative by cVNT. All tissue samples of 39 rats analysed tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 RNA. This is the first study that evaluates SARS-CoV-2 infection in urban rats. We can conclude that the sample of rats analysed had never been infected with SARS-CoV-2. However, monitoring activities should continue due to the emergence of new variants prone to infect Muridae rodents.

4.
Mamm Rev ; 2020 Oct 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-838553

ABSTRACT

It has been a long time since the world has experienced a pandemic with such a rapid devastating impact as the current COVID-19 pandemic. The causative agent, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), is unusual in that it appears capable of infecting many different mammal species. As a significant proportion of people worldwide are infected with SARS-CoV-2 and may spread the infection unknowingly before symptoms occur or without any symptoms ever occurring, there is a non-negligible risk of humans spreading SARS-CoV-2 to wildlife, in particular to wild non-human mammals. Because of SARS-CoV-2's apparent evolutionary origins in bats and reports of humans transmitting the virus to pets and zoo animals, regulations for the prevention of human-to-animal transmission have so far focused mostly on these animal groups. We summarise recent studies and reports that show that a wide range of distantly related mammals are likely to be susceptible to SARS-CoV-2, and that susceptibility or resistance to the virus is, in general, not predictable, or only predictable to some extent, from phylogenetic proximity to known susceptible or resistant hosts. In the absence of solid evidence on the susceptibility and resistance to SARS-CoV-2 for each of the >6500 mammal species, we argue that sanitary precautions should be taken by humans interacting with any other mammal species in the wild. Preventing human-to-wildlife SARS-CoV-2 transmission is important to protect these animals (some of which are classed as threatened) from disease, but also to avoid establishment of novel SARS-CoV-2 reservoirs in wild mammals. The risk of repeated re-infection of humans from such a wildlife reservoir could severely hamper SARS-CoV-2 control efforts. Activities during which direct or indirect interaction with wild mammals may occur include wildlife research, conservation activities, forestry work, pest control, management of feral populations, ecological consultancy work, management of protected areas and natural environments, wildlife tourism and wildlife rehabilitation in animal shelters. During such activities, we recommend sanitary precautions, such as physical distancing, wearing face masks and gloves, and frequent decontamination, which are very similar to regulations currently imposed to prevent transmission among humans. We further recommend active surveillance of domestic and feral animals that could act as SARS-CoV-2 intermediate hosts between humans and wild mammals.

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