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COVID-2 and Potential Animal Hosts

Printed From: Pandemic Talk - Coronavirus Discussion Forum
Category: Main Forums
Forum Name: General Discussion
Forum Description: (General discussion regarding the coronavirus pandemic)
Printed Date: July 12 2020 at 12:06pm

Topic: COVID-2 and Potential Animal Hosts
Posted By: Tabitha111
Subject: COVID-2 and Potential Animal Hosts
Date Posted: February 19 2020 at 6:52am
By Scott Weese on February 18, 2020

Viruses need to attach to cells to infect them, and they do this by binding to specific receptors on the cell. If a virus can’t attach, it can’t infect. Some receptors are very specific to an individual animal species, while some are more general. These differences in receptor binding explain why some viruses only infect one species (or cell type) while others can infect more. Understanding how a virus attaches to cells, therefore, can help figure out what types of cells and what species can be infected.

A study newly published in the Journal of Virology investigated this, based on knowledge obtained from the related SARS virus (Wan et al, Receptor recognition by novel coronavirus from Wuhan: an analysis based on decade-long structural studies of SARS). They looked at a viral protein (spike protein) and its angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor, a SARS virus binding site. Their analysis of the new coronavirus “confidently predicts” that it also uses ACE2 as its receptor. They also predict that a single genetic mutation at one location in the virus’ genome could significantly enhance its ability to bind, and that surveillance for this mutation should be performed.

There’s also an animal side here, in the vein of what I’ve been talking about for a while. This study predicts that the COVID-19 virus can bind to ACE2 from pigs, ferret, cats and some non-human primates with similar efficiency as it does to people.

That’s why I’ve been pushing to make sure infected or quarantined people are kept away from animals and that investigation of exposure includes animals.

The potential susceptibility of cats is obviously a concern given their commonness as pets and the close interaction people have with their cats. Pigs could be an even worse issue. If pigs are able to be infected and shed the virus, it would be a potentially big issue if it entered the pig population. Keeping infected people away from animals of all sorts (human and non-human) should be considered. As with SARS, mice and rats are likely resistant to infection (good from the standpoint of them being reservoirs in the wild but also meaning they can’t be used for experimental study, as those are common lab animals).

I assume there will be lots more to come about this virus and how it works.

Posted By: KiminNM
Date Posted: February 19 2020 at 7:26am
Ugh. Since I have cats, this is much more likely to get me to SIP.

A while back I worked at our animal shelter, and at one point we had cats with ringworm in one location and bad (deadlly) URI's in a different location. I followed a complicated (to me) protocol to ensure I didn't cross-infect the two groups of cats, OR infect my cats at home.

Might be time to start that up again now.

Short version - multiple sets of clothes and shoes kept in my car trunk - I used scrubs and Crocs - getting undressed outside, clothes immediately in a plastic trash bag, ran inside and straight into shower. I was going through 4 sets of scrubs a day.

In this situation it'd be important to keep my car 'safe', so it would have to include changing clothes after shopping (in the parking lot) before getting into my car. Then still getting undressed outside at home.

Lessons learned then: wear something under your clothes that you don't mind being seen in, hair in a ponytail at all times, tons of trash bags with the pull not tie closure to drop clothes in, extra laundry detergent. Be careful with the trash bag when dumping into laundry, straight into the trash. Wear your glasses in the shower. Closed lid trash can in car trunk and outside front door for gloves, etc.

Also, FWIW, during one bout of ringworm at the shelter two of us were in charge of washing all the cats. Wearing gowns, gloves, etc.    Gown to carry cats to be washed next door, wash cat, put on clean gown (while holding wet cat in sink) to dry cat and take cat to clean kennel, back to room, pick up another cat, take to be washed, realize one of us had forgotten to change gowns, start over again. Even with 2 of us, we kept forgetting to change the damn gowns and gloves!   So if you're planning something like that, it is critical to GO SLOW.     

We ran into similar problems when cleaning the community cat room and everything in it. Wear 'infected' gown to take things outside to wash, change gowns so as not to re-infect washed items... ahh crap, we just picked up a clean item with a dirty gown, start over. It's HARD!

I now have some cognitive issues (post stroke effects), so would have to have it written down to follow, and posted in my car and outside home.

Posted By: Technophobe
Date Posted: February 19 2020 at 7:55am
5 cats, 3 dogs, 2 quail - living in house, chickens and geese outside (appart from one chicken convinced she is a house pet - eyeing cat flap!) so this could be bad news for us!

Thankfully, I never had pigs.


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