It is not just human beings who are facing the threat of Covid -19. A new study has claimed that about 26 animals that come in regular contact with human beings may be vulnerable to SARS-CoV-2.
The researchers said that birds, reptiles and fish do not appear to be at risk of infection. But majority of the mammals could potentially be infected, they said. The researchers said that there was a possibility of infection in domestic dogs, cats, mink, tigers and lions, all of which have had reported cases, as well as macaques and ferrets, which have been infected in laboratory studies.
The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports.
Lead author Christine Orengo (University College London) said that the animals that they had analysed could threaten or harm the livelihoods of farmers. These animals could also act as reservoirs of the Covid virus, having the potential to re-infect humans later on, Orengo said.
The researchers said that they looked into how the spike protein from SARS-CoV-2 could interact with the main cellular receptor for the virus in humans called angiotensin converting enzyme-2 (ACE2). They said that the focus was whether mutations in the ACE2 protein in 215 different animals would reduce the stability of the binding complex between the virus protein and host protein.
They found that proteins would be able to bind together as strongly as they do when the virus infects people for some animals like sheep and great apes.