British scientists from University College London have established which animal species are capable of contracting COVID-19. Scientific work appeared in Scientific Reports.
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As part of the experiment, biologists studied the interaction of the S-protein of the SARS-CoV-2 peplomer with the ACE2 protein in an infected organism. It is the formation of such a kit that allows the coronavirus to penetrate into healthy cells. Scientists have observed how in 215 animal species, mutations in the ACE2 protein reduced the stability of this complex of proteins. It was found that in sheep and great apes, S-protein and ACE2 bind as strongly as in humans.
Scientists have carried out detailed analysis to understand which animals are at risk of contracting coronavirus. It turned out that pets, including such exotic species as lions, tigers and ferrets, are susceptible to infection. Moreover, similar cases have already been recorded. Ungulates, felines and canines are also at risk. According to biologists, fish, birds and reptiles most likely cannot get sick with COVID-19.
Scientists fear that outbreaks of the disease among animals will not occur on farms, then the virus can be transmitted to humans. Experts remind of the need to maintain good hygiene when dealing with pets.