Not only minks, dogs and cats, but also sheep and cows may be in danger of getting the new coronavirus. At least this is evident from a new study in which scientists looked at which animal cells the virus ‘fits’. As far as is known, no case of corona has been observed in sheep or cows.
In total, the team discovered 26 animals that are in close contact with people sensitive to the coronavirus. Fish, reptiles and birds are not included. But most of the mammals the scientists looked at did. Horses, goats, pigs, donkeys, ferrets, hamsters, rabbits and even squirrels also have cells on which the virus can grasp with its projections.
Many mammals have also seen infections in real life. For example, a zookeeper infected four tigers and Three Lions in a New York zoo, and among other things hamsters, rabbits and ferrets are deliberately infected in the lab to investigate the course of the infection.
But what about the rest is still unclear after the new research, says epidemiologist Lidwien Smit (University of Utrecht). “Some animals may be infested in theory. But they have to be able to spread the virus just as soon as possible, between themselves and to other animals or humans. And until now, there’s no evidence that this virus is actually common in animals, apart from minks.’
You can have surprises, but it is better for the reasons senior member, Christine Orengo, University College London, however, explains:
“We wanted to know what kind of animals might be at risk of infection, with a view to further research and possible monitoring.”
There is a danger that the virus will hide in animals undetected, and then again infect humans.
Although it is certain that the coronavirus has jumped to man from the bat, it is still unclear which ‘mid – animal’ that has happened-bats themselves are not the most likely source. On the suspect list, several mammals are in close contact with humans, such as raccoon dogs, cats and minks. In the animal world, by the way, there are many more coronaviruses, some of which can cause serious diseases.
The list of potential problem animals described by the scientists in Scientific Reports includes the panda, the yak, the dromedary and the Fox.