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Article

Monitoring Natural SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Lions (Panthera leo) at the Barcelona Zoo: Viral Dynamics and Host Responses

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Parc Zoològic de Barcelona, Parc de la Ciutadella s/n, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
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Institut de Recerca i Tecnologia Agraroalimentàries (IRTA), Centre de Recerca en Sanitat Animal (CReSA, IRTA-UAB), Campus de la UAB, 08193 Cerdanyola del Vallès, Spain
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Dipartimento di Virologia, Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale della Lombardia e dell’Emilia Romagna, Via A. Bianchi 9, 25124 Brescia, Italy
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IrsiCaixa AIDS Research Institute, 08916 Badalona, Spain
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IrsiCaixa AIDS Research Institute, Germans Trias i Pujol Research Institute (IGTP), Can Ruti Campus, 08916 Badalona, Spain
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Chair of Infectious Diseases and Immunity, Faculty of Medicine, University of Vic-Central University of Catalonia (UVic-UCC), 08500 Vic, Spain
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UAB, CReSA (IRTA-UAB), Campus de la UAB, 08193 Cerdanyola del Vallès, Spain
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Departament de Sanitat i Anatomia Animals, Facultat de Veterinaria, UAB, 08193 Cerdanyola del Vallès, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Equally contributing authors.
Academic Editor: Karla Helbig
Viruses 2021, 13(9), 1683; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13091683
Received: 11 August 2021 / Revised: 18 August 2021 / Accepted: 19 August 2021 / Published: 25 August 2021
(This article belongs to the Section SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19)
To date, no evidence supports the fact that animals play a role in the epidemiology of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the causative agent of the coronavirus infectious disease 2019 (COVID-19). However, several animal species are naturally susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Besides pets (cats, dogs, Syrian hamsters, and ferrets) and farm animals (minks), different zoo animal species have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 (large felids and non-human primates). After the summer of 2020, a second wave of SARS-CoV-2 infection occurred in Barcelona (Spain), reaching a peak of positive cases in November. During that period, four lions (Panthera leo) at the Barcelona Zoo and three caretakers developed respiratory signs and tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 antigen. Lion infection was monitored for several weeks and nasal, fecal, saliva, and blood samples were taken at different time-points. SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected in nasal samples from all studied lions and the viral RNA was detected up to two weeks after the initial viral positive test in three out of four animals. The SARS-CoV-2 genome was also detected in the feces of animals at different times. Virus isolation was successful only from respiratory samples of two lions at an early time-point. The four animals developed neutralizing antibodies after the infection that were detectable four months after the initial diagnosis. The partial SARS-CoV-2 genome sequence from one animal caretaker was identical to the sequences obtained from lions. Chronology of the events, the viral dynamics, and the genomic data support human-to-lion transmission as the origin of infection. View Full-Text
Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; lion; Panthera leo; wildlife; zoo SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; lion; Panthera leo; wildlife; zoo
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MDPI and ACS Style

Fernández-Bellon, H.; Rodon, J.; Fernández-Bastit, L.; Almagro, V.; Padilla-Solé, P.; Lorca-Oró, C.; Valle, R.; Roca, N.; Grazioli, S.; Trogu, T.; Bensaid, A.; Carrillo, J.; Izquierdo-Useros, N.; Blanco, J.; Parera, M.; Noguera-Julián, M.; Clotet, B.; Moreno, A.; Segalés, J.; Vergara-Alert, J. Monitoring Natural SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Lions (Panthera leo) at the Barcelona Zoo: Viral Dynamics and Host Responses. Viruses 2021, 13, 1683. https://doi.org/10.3390/v13091683

AMA Style

Fernández-Bellon H, Rodon J, Fernández-Bastit L, Almagro V, Padilla-Solé P, Lorca-Oró C, Valle R, Roca N, Grazioli S, Trogu T, Bensaid A, Carrillo J, Izquierdo-Useros N, Blanco J, Parera M, Noguera-Julián M, Clotet B, Moreno A, Segalés J, Vergara-Alert J. Monitoring Natural SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Lions (Panthera leo) at the Barcelona Zoo: Viral Dynamics and Host Responses. Viruses. 2021; 13(9):1683. https://doi.org/10.3390/v13091683

Chicago/Turabian Style

Fernández-Bellon, Hugo, Jordi Rodon, Leira Fernández-Bastit, Vanessa Almagro, Pilar Padilla-Solé, Cristina Lorca-Oró, Rosa Valle, Núria Roca, Santina Grazioli, Tiziana Trogu, Albert Bensaid, Jorge Carrillo, Nuria Izquierdo-Useros, Julià Blanco, Mariona Parera, Marc Noguera-Julián, Bonaventura Clotet, Ana Moreno, Joaquim Segalés, and Júlia Vergara-Alert. 2021. "Monitoring Natural SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Lions (Panthera leo) at the Barcelona Zoo: Viral Dynamics and Host Responses" Viruses 13, no. 9: 1683. https://doi.org/10.3390/v13091683

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