Researchers at the University of Missouri have found mice that invade New York are susceptible to infection with multiple strains of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
This is after studying and analyzing rodents caught in various locations near the city sewer during three months of 2021.
The results of their study, published Thursday in the journal mBio, showed that 13 of 79 rats (16.5%) tested positive for the virus, a number that can be extrapolated to 1.3 million of the city’s 8 million rats.
The researchers found that not only can mice be infected with alpha, delta, and micron variants of the virus in both the upper and lower respiratory tract, but that SARS-CoV-2 mutated after infection to adapt to its hosts, which is important for The ability to predict the possibility of people coming back and re-infecting people with future strains, the researchers say.
The findings “highlight the need for further surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 in mouse populations for possible secondary transmission to humans from animals,” explained lead investigator Henry Wang in a press release accompanying the publication of the study.
The COVID-19 pandemic was initially blamed on the transmission of the coronavirus from mutant bats to humans through an intermediate host in a wet market in Wuhan, China. However, subsequent data showed that the virus had spread to other regions of China as early as October 2019, before the first cases were detected in Wuhan, and researchers believe some cases also occurred in Europe and the US in the last months of 2019.
A recent US Energy Administration investigation concluded that the virus may have “leaked” from a Chinese lab. In response, Beijing said the WHO investigation found it “highly unlikely” that a lab in Wuhan was the source of the outbreak.
Mice are far from alone in their susceptibility to the virus that causes Covid. In 2020, around 17 million minks were preemptively culled in Denmark after some were found to be infected with a new strain of the virus thought to threaten humans. This decision was later declared illegal.
Last year, Hong Kong ordered the culling of 2,000 imported hamsters after a resident was traced back to contact at a pet store; The ban on foreign hamster ownership was only lifted in January.
It was recently revealed that the UK government ordered a near-genocide of locals’ domestic cats to ‘flatten the curve’ after a member of a Siamese family was found to have contracted the virus in 2020, though little is known about how the disease is transmitted between species. .
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