Mammals are more affected than fish, reptiles and birds. For this reason, better and more monitoring the health of pets and farm animals, as well as adopting hygiene measures to protect and protect them. Here are the 26 most endangered species.
The Sars-Cov-2 coronavirus and become infected just like humans, taking the infection from us. This is shown by a research conducted by Imperial College London which lists 26 species in contact with humans and therefore most at risk. Among these are dogs, cats , hamsters, but also non-domestic animals such as pigs, ferrets and minks (protagonists of a sad story), tigers , lions and macaques – some of these species we have, however, evidence of cases of positivity and outbreaks. The study is published in Scientific Reports. The topic is still to be explored and research indicates that we must pay attention to these infections and adopt the rules of hygiene – such as washing hands – before stroking pets.
Mammalian infections: the study
The transmission of the virus between mammals has already been discussed more than once during the Covid-19 pandemic and there are some studies on the subject. According to what was reported a few months ago – in April 2020 – by the World Organization and other health authorities, pets would not pose a danger to us. However, as we also read in today’s study, we currently do not have enough data on the possibility that they can transmit the infection back to humans and we must proceed with caution. For this reason, knowing the vulnerable species , monitoring them and trying to understand how they contracted it is important to always have new information on Sars-Cov-2 and its transmission routes.
The researchers started from the data of infections in animals available in scientific studies to draw up a list of the species most at risk and to understand how aggressive the virus is. In fact, in the research they carried out genetic analyzes, through computer simulations, to understand if and how, in the animals most in contact with humans and therefore most at risk , Sars-Cov-2 takes root and spreads in their organism. . In practice, they wanted to understand how the spike protein of the virus, the one that hooks cells and actually allows contagion, interacts in animals with the Ace2 receptor. – a protein found in various organs and tissues, the bridge through which the virus extends into the body.
Mammals, more affected than reptiles and birds
Reptiles, birds and fish in most cases do not appear to be infected, unlike many species of mammals, including several pets and bred on farms . Researchers have identified 26 species with which we come into most contact and which for this reason may be more susceptible to Covid-19 (here the figure with the list). Among these, there are pets, such as cat, dog, hamster (more than one species) and guinea pig . Farm animals include horses, rabbits, sheep, cows, pigs and others.
In the genetic study, in particular, the researchers found that in sheep and many primates (chimpanzees, bonobos, orangutans) the spike protein of the virus binds with the Ace2 receptor with the same force with which this link manifests itself in humans: therefore the infection could have similar characteristics.
Animals, protect them and protect ourselves
Some of these animals, such as sheep , have not yet been considered in research on infected animals: in this case the simulation only provides an indication that they could be infected by humans. Precisely for this reason, the researchers specify that their work ” does not want to provide an absolute measure of the risk of infection” , but that on the contrary “it could be considered as an effective method for monitoring a large number of animals” , as well as providing support for new studies on the subject. These models, the authors explain, are based on computational analyzes that are simple to reproduce which for this reason could also be used for further studies and in other epidemics, which unfortunately are increasingly frequent.
To protect animals and ourselves, “we need large-scale surveillance of animals, especially pets and farm animals , “ he explained, “to detect positive cases and outbreaks early, when they are still manageable . ” It could be important, adds the expert, to adopt the same hygiene measures that we have learned to adopt for humans, and in the case of a positive patient who has no contact not only with people but also with animals.