SARS-CoV-2 Infections in Animals: Reservoirs for Reverse Zoonosis and Models for Study


Prince, Tessa Smith, Shirley L Radford, Alan D Solomon, Tom Hughes, Grant L Patterson, Edward I


The recent SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has brought many questions over the origin of the virus, the threat it poses to animals both in the wild and captivity, and the risks of a permanent viral reservoir developing in animals. Animal experiments have shown that a variety of animals can become infected with the virus. While coronaviruses have been known to infect animals for decades, the true intermediate host of the virus has not been identified, with no cases of SARS-CoV-2 in wild animals. The screening of wild, farmed, and domesticated animals is necessary to help us understand the virus and its origins and prevent future outbreaks of both COVID-19 and other diseases. There is intriguing evidence that farmed mink infections (acquired from humans) have led to infection of other farm workers in turn, with a recent outbreak of a mink variant in humans in Denmark. A thorough examination of the current knowledge and evidence of the ability of SARS-CoV-2 to infect different animal species is therefore vital to evaluate the threat of animal to human transmission and reverse zoonosis.