Animal vectors of coronavirus identified

Biologists have studied how the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus interacts with the ACE2 protein, through which it enters cells.

Computer simulations were carried out for 215 species. The scientists looked to see if mutations in the ACE2 protein would strengthen or weaken the bond between the viral protein and the host protein. The results showed that 26 species of mammals in regular contact with humans may be susceptible to infection.

The authors found that birds, fish and reptiles are notare susceptible to infection, but most mammals can potentially be infected. There have already been cases of infection in cats, dogs, minks, lions and tigers. Laboratory studies have confirmed the possibility of infection in ferrets and macaques.

The authors believe that to prevent transmissioninfections from humans to animals and vice versa, large-scale surveillance is necessary, especially for domestic and farm animals, in order to detect cases at an early stage before an epidemic begins. In addition, according to scientists, it is important to provide for hygiene measures when handling animals, similar to those that are now taken among humans.

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