When animals catch COVID-19 from humans, new SARS-CoV-2 variants can arise.
When animals catch COVID-19 from humans, new SARS-CoV-2 variants can arise. To evaluate this phenomenon, an interdisciplinary team at the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences systematically analyzed mutation types occurring in the virus after infection of cats, dogs, ferrets, and hamsters.
Confirmed COVID-19 cases in a variety of wild, zoo, and household animals demonstrate cross-species transmission, which is a rare occurrence for most viruses.
“SARS-CoV-2, in the realm of coronaviruses, has a very broad species range,” said Laura Bashor, one of the first authors and a doctoral student in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology. “Generally speaking, many types of viruses can’t infect other species of animals, they evolved to be very specific.”
“Humans have so much exposure to many different animals which permitted this virus to have the opportunity to expose a variety of different species,” said Erick Gagne, a first author and now an assistant professor of wildlife disease ecology at the University of Pennsylvania.
Read more at Colorado State University
Image: Doctoral student Laura Bashor working in the VandeWoude Lab at Colorado State University. (Credit: Colorado State University)