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Review

Animal Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and the Welfare of Animals during the COVID-19 Pandemic

1
Department of Philosophy, Wheaton College, Norton, MA 02766, USA
2
College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA
3
Department of Biology, Wheaton College, Norton, MA 02766, USA
4
Program in Neuroscience, Wheaton College, Norton, MA 02766, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Hayley Randle, Jane M. Williams and David Marlin
Animals 2021, 11(7), 2044; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11072044
Received: 11 June 2021 / Revised: 29 June 2021 / Accepted: 1 July 2021 / Published: 8 July 2021
(This article belongs to the Collection Impact of COVID-19 on Animal Management and Welfare)
The accelerated pace of research into Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) necessitates periodic summaries of current research. The present paper reviews virus susceptibilities in species commonly in contact with humans and predictors of susceptibility. With few exceptions, species selected for review were those in contact with humans through the entertainment, pet, or agricultural trades, and for whom report—either anecdotal or published—exist regarding the SARS-CoV-2 virus and/or the resulting disease state COVID-19. The possibility of humans transmitting SARS-CoV-2 to animals and fear of animals transmitting the virus to humans endangers animal wellbeing; use of animals as research models also has welfare implications. As the search for appropriate animal models for SARS-CoV-2 continues, it is important to determine which species are most appropriate, so that the “three R’s” of animal research (replacement, reduction, and refinement) may be put into practice. The present review suggests that ferrets, golden Syrian hamsters, and some Old World nonhuman primates may be the best animal models for COVID-19-related research, as these species display the greatest similarity in factors underlying viral infection, as well as clinical symptoms upon viral exposure most similar to those seen in humans.
The accelerated pace of research into Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) necessitates periodic summaries of current research. The present paper reviews virus susceptibilities in species with frequent human contact, and factors that are best predictors of virus susceptibility. Species reviewed were those in contact with humans through entertainment, pet, or agricultural trades, and for whom reports (either anecdotal or published) exist regarding the SARS-CoV-2 virus and/or the resulting disease state COVID-19. Available literature was searched using an artificial intelligence (AI)-assisted engine, as well as via common databases, such as Web of Science and Medline. The present review focuses on susceptibility and transmissibility of SARS-CoV-2, and polymorphisms in transmembrane protease serine 2 (TMPRSS2) and angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) that contribute to species differences. Dogs and pigs appear to have low susceptibility, while ferrets, mink, some hamster species, cats, and nonhuman primates (particularly Old World species) have high susceptibility. Precautions may therefore be warranted in interactions with such species, and more selectivity practiced when choosing appropriate species to serve as models for research. View Full-Text
Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; animal transmission; animal model; animal welfare COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; animal transmission; animal model; animal welfare
MDPI and ACS Style

Ekstrand, K.; Flanagan, A.J.; Lin, I.E.; Vejseli, B.; Cole, A.; Lally, A.P.; Morris, R.L.; Morgan, K.N. Animal Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and the Welfare of Animals during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Animals 2021, 11, 2044. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11072044

AMA Style

Ekstrand K, Flanagan AJ, Lin IE, Vejseli B, Cole A, Lally AP, Morris RL, Morgan KN. Animal Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and the Welfare of Animals during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Animals. 2021; 11(7):2044. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11072044

Chicago/Turabian Style

Ekstrand, Kimberly, Amanda J. Flanagan, Ilyan E. Lin, Brendon Vejseli, Allicyn Cole, Anna P. Lally, Robert L. Morris, and Kathleen N. Morgan. 2021. "Animal Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and the Welfare of Animals during the COVID-19 Pandemic" Animals 11, no. 7: 2044. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11072044

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