Evidence for SARS-CoV-2 Infection of Animal Hosts
COVID-19 is the first known pandemic caused by a coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, which is the third virus in the family Coronaviridae to cause fatal infections in humans after SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV. Animals are involved in the COVID-19 pandemic. This review summarizes the role of animals as reservoirs, natural hosts and experimental models. SARS-CoV-2 originated from animal reservoir, most likely bats and/or pangolins. Anthroponotic transmission has been reported in cats, dogs, tigers, lions and minks. As of now, there is no a strong evidence for natural animal-to-human transmission or sustained animal-to-animal transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Experimental infections conducted by several research groups have shown that monkeys, hamsters, ferrets, cats, tree shrews, transgenic mice and fruit bats were permissive, while dogs, pigs and poultry were resistant. There is an urgent need to understand the zoonotic potential of different viruses in animals, particularly in bats, before they transmit to humans. Vaccines or antivirals against SARS-CoV-2 should be evaluated not only for humans, but also for the protection of companion animals (particularly cats) and susceptible zoo and farm animals.