Relevance of animal infections in SARS-Cov-2 spread: an update after 1
year of pandemic.
AbstractIn December 2019, several cases of pneumonia caused by a novel
Coronavirus, later identified as SARS-CoV-2, were detected in the
Chinese city of Wuhan. Due to its rapid, worldwide spread, on 11 March
2020 the World Health Organization declared a pandemic state. Since this
new virus is genetically similar to the coronaviruses of bats, it was
thought to have a zoonotic origin. Within a year of the appearance of
SARS-CoV-2, several cases of infection were also reported in animals,
suggesting animal-to-human and animal-to-animal transmission within
mammals. Natural infection has been found in both companion and captive
animals such as lions, tigers and gorillas. Among farm animals, the only
ones found to be susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection so far are minks.
Experimental infections have documented the susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2
of several animal species, such as humanized mice, hamsters, cats, dogs,
ferrets, racoon dogs, cattle and non-human primates. Experimental
infections are crucial for both elucidation of the role of animals in
transmission and development of appropriate animal models for
pathogenesis and therapy studies. This review aims to update the
knowledge on natural and experimental SARS-CoV-2 infections in animals.