Bats, pangolins, minks and other animals – villains or victims of SARS-CoV-2?

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Vet Res Commun. 2021 Jan 19. doi: 10.1007/s11259-021-09787-2. Online ahead of print.


Coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) is caused by the severe acute Respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), which has become unstoppable, spreading rapidly worldwide and, consequently, reaching a pandemic level. This review aims to provide the information available so far on the likely animal origin of SARS-CoV-2 and its possible hosts/reservoirs as well as all natural animal infections and experimental evidence using animal models. Horseshoe bats from the species Rhinolophus affinis seem to be a natural reservoir and pangolins (Manis javanica) appear to be an intermediate host of SARS-CoV-2. Humans remain the most likely spreading source of SARS-CoV-2 to other humans and also to domestic, zoo and farm animals. Indeed, human-to-animal transmission has been reported in cats, dogs, tigers, lions, a puma and minks. Animal-to-human transmission is not a sustained pathway, although mink-to-human transmission remains to be elucidated. Through experimental infections, other animals seem also to be susceptible hosts for SARS-CoV-2, namely ferrets, some non-human primate species, hamsters and transgenic mice, while dogs, pigs and poultry are resistant. A One Health perspective must be implemented in order to develop epidemiological surveillance and establish disease control mechanisms to limit zoonotic transmission. Moreover, research in this field is important to better understand SARS-CoV-2 and to obtain the long-awaited vaccine and specific treatment.

PMID:33464439 | DOI:10.1007/s11259-021-09787-2