Tigers and lions from the New York zoo found two different strains of COVID-19

Scientists led by Associate Professor of Cornell University Diego Dieel analyzed animal biomaterials and found that four tigers and three lions from the New York Zoo in the Bronx, who contracted a new type of coronavirus at the end of March this year, were carriers of two different strains of SARS-CoV-2. … An article about this was published in the electronic scientific library bioRxiv.

The genome of the virus from the body of one of the tigers in structure completely coincided with the RNA of the SARS-CoV-2 strain, which one of the carriers living in New York suffered from. Moreover, all the lions were infected with a virus that was originally found in the neighboring state of Connecticut. This suggests that SARS-CoV-2 was brought to the zoo in two different ways.

Recall that not only humans but also other mammals, such as rhesus monkeys, minks, ferrets, and cats, can get coronavirus.

One of these cases was the predators from the Bronx Zoo. The staff noticed that several tigers and lions started sneezing and coughing. After that, the zoo staff conducted one of the first tests for traces of coronavirus in animals. As a result, it turned out that four tigers and three lions from the New York Zoo in the Bronx, who contracted a new type of coronavirus at the end of March this year, were carriers of two different strains of SARS-CoV-2 at once.

Also, COVID-19 was found on all five zookeepers. Moreover, in one case, the genome of the human virus completely coincided with how the SARS-CoV-2 RNA was arranged from the sputum of one of the tigers. The lions, as it turned out, were infected with another form of coronavirus: its source is not in New York but in Connecticut.

All animals, except for one tiger, transferred the infection easily enough and did not die. After this incident, the zoo developed new rules for the care of cats.