The COVID-19 infection is detected in many animals in zoos or farms, or domestic animals like cats and dogs and even in wild species like mink and ferrets. The detection of the infection in animals is concerning.
The most worried part of the virus being present and circulating in animals is that it is likely to get mutated again. According to the experts in the area, the circulation of the virus will lead to a mutation that is ultimately going to hit back the human species. The new variant then will again go uncontrolled.
Should We Worry About The Circulation Of COVID-19 In Some Animals?
When the efforts are in effect to deliver and administer the COVID-19 shots to the frontline workers and the masses, the United States had witnessed the worst scenario of the coronavirus pandemic in the month of January. With the increased coronavirus cases and rising death tolls, last month was a challenge for the nation.
While the United States and the world are dealing with newer and deadlier variants of the virus recently, scientists suggest looking at the coronavirus cases in animals with equal eagerness.
The scientists are claiming that the virus originates from animals on the first place, most probably bats. The zoonotic transmission has then led to widespread pandemics around the globe.
According to Dr Jonathan Epstein, an epidemiologist and the vice president at the EcoHealth Alliance’s Science and outreach, there is a list of known animals susceptible to the virus. So, it is important to check the spread of the virus in animals as well.
As per the explanation given by Dr. Epstein, animals are exposed to the virus through the widespread pandemic in humans. It is likely that the animals have also contracted the virus from the environment and contaminated waste and water.
Mink farms in the United States, the Netherlands, Denmark, Italy, Spain and Sweden have reported the infection due to the coronavirus in their farm winks. Winks are carnivorous animals generally reared for their fur.
The virus in the minks was also observed to spread really fast in the mink population that are residing together. Although, no study has yet indicated if the virus circulating in the minks is anyway more deadly than the one already found in humans.
It was reported that the farmed winks were culled to prevent the spread of the virus further. Also, the zoo animals were isolated and are given treatment for the COVID-19 infection.
But the virus, if spread to the wildlife, will be difficult to tame.
And the situation is alarming as the scientist studying the virus in the farm winks has reported cases of the virus in wild minks.
According to Dr Christine Kreuder Johnson, professor of veterinary medicine at the University of California, a spillback phenomenon is observed. The virus originated in animals, spilled itself into the human population and is now spilling back to infect the animals.
According to Dr. Johnson, the spilling back of the virus in animals is going to mutate the virus. The mutated virus’s zoonotic transmission back to the human population will leave us dealing with a new variant altogether.
However, the scientific community agrees that still more studies and investigations are required to conclude the extent of the spread of the virus in the animals. Farm animals, domestic animals and wildlife need to be checked for infection.
The Center for Diseases Control and Prevention does not recommend widespread testing among animals. But Dr. Epstein said that the diseases was spread in the first place due to the environmental changes that resulted in a closer contact of the human race with the wildlife. So, the signs of coronavirus cases in the wildlife are still alarming.