Researchers fear the coronavirus will be transmitted to animals

OrangutanPhoto: AP Photo / Ronald Zak, File
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COVID-19 is currently transmitted mainly between humans, but researchers fear that humans could transmit the virus to animals. This year, gorillas have been infected in the United States.

Researchers and veterinarians around the world are monitoring animal health during the pandemic. The goal is to prevent human-to-human transmission from spreading to various animal species.

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park started looking into the issue in January this year, when eight gorillas began to show signs of the illness, including coughing. 

They turned out to be infected with the coronavirus. Thus, gorillas became the first known cases among apes to carry the disease.

Infected by an animal keeper?

An animal keeper, who had no symptoms but had COVID-19, probably infected the eight gorillas. 

Seven of them recovered from mild symptoms such as a runny nose and cough, while an older gorilla developed pneumonia and heart problems. 

He was put on antibiotics and heart medication. He was also treated with antibodies to prevent the virus from spreading.

On January 26, the 28-year-old gorilla Karen became the first ape to be vaccinated against corona. She received two doses from Zoetis, a veterinary company in New Jersey.

Zoetis received permission from the US Department of Agriculture for the vaccine test on the gorillas at the San Diego Zoo. Karen showed no signs of side effects after the injections.

Five chimpanzees and four orangutans at the San Diego Zoo have since been fully vaccinated. Another four apes have received the first dose and are waiting for the second dose in April.

Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews

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