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Current Affairs

Lions and Tigers at risk of coronavirus

Date: 09 June 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

A Lioness at the Vandalur zoo in Chennai died due to a suspected Covid-19 infection. This is the latest such case of wild animal death due to the infection.

 

Background

The Coronavirus is zoonotic in nature is usually found in mammals such as bats and camels. This is the reason it may infect other animals too.

 

Details

  • The main reason for animals getting infected with Coronavirus is the spike protein that binds to the host cell and infects it.

  • The spike protein attaches itself to host cells known as ACE2 receptor. Different species have different level of expression to ACE2 receptors.

  • This is the reason that susceptibility of species differs from one another. Cat species is said to have higher expression.

  • This makes cats and their cousin species vulnerable similar to humans. The ACE2 receptors of cats and humans are also similar.

 

The study

  • The research was carried on 10 different species of animals and their ACE2 receptor binding with virus proteins.

  • There was also a test to find out how well the virus protein replicates after entering the cells. This was undertaken using a computer model.

 

Findings

Primates such as rhesus monkeys and chimpanzees had high risk of infection followed by species such as femurs. Cats had medium threat while dogs were at low risk.