Can Animals Transmit COVID-19 to Humans? Scientists Are Working to Find Out.
To test for COVID-19, the animals undergo the same dreaded test as humans: the nasal swab. The team of scientists and wildlife experts trudge through the snow to perform the tests on animals.
Researchers from the University of Minnesota are looking for a connection between the pandemic and wildlife. They are trying to figure out how prevalent COVID-19 is in wildlife, and if coronavirus may be spreading from animals to humans.
"We are testing samples from wild animals collected from the northern part of the state, northwest part of the state, for evidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection, the virus that causes COVID-19," explained Matthew Aliota, an assistant professor in the department of veterinary and biomedical sciences at the University of Minnesota.
“We just recently began this project looking at COVID in wildlife as a potential reservoir for wildlife human transmission," said Dr. Seth Moore, the director of biology and environment for the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.
"We are encroaching on animal habitat like we have never before in history so our potential interactions with wildlife species and new wildlife species that we historically don't interact with on a regular basis are becoming more and more common," Aliota said. "So you're creating, humans are creating scenarios by which these types of events will occur more frequently and in much greater scope."
To test for coronavirus, the animals undergo the same dreaded test as humans: the nasal swab. The team of scientists and wildlife experts trudge through the snow to perform the tests on animals.
In order to keep themselves and the animals safe, members of the team are fully vaccinated and boosted, and they get tested frequently.
Despite many theories of animal to human transmission, scientists have not agreed on the exact origins of COVID-19. But studies may shed more light on how the virus works, and how humans can protect wildlife and themselves.
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