SARS CoV 2 (COVID-19) Diagnosis in Wildlife Animals using Rt-Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) in Dubai Safari Park

Jameela H. x H. Ghazaly, Jayadevan M. Mandiram, Murad B. Mustafa, Muna A. Alhajeri


Coronaviruses (CoVs) are enveloped, positive-sense, single-stranded RNA viruses. SARS-CoV-2 is a beta coronavirus, a genus that includes several coronaviruses (SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, bat SARS-like CoV, and others) isolated from humans, bats, camels, civets, and other animals. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the pathogenic agent that causes the disease COVID-19. SARS-CoV-2 is thought to have emerged from an animal source, most likely a bat, and subsequently spread to humans.  While genetically closely related viruses have been isolated from Rhinolophus bats, the exact source of SARS-CoV-2 and its route of introduction into the human population have not been established. Monitoring animal infections is imperative to better understanding their epidemiological significance for animal health, biodiversity, and human health. According to evidence from risk assessments, epidemiological investigations, and experimental studies, animals play no significant role in the spread of SARS-CoV-2, which is sustained by human-to-human transmission. The possibility of Coronavirus testing by veterinary labs was considered after the Iowa State veterinary lab discovered the COVID-19 virus has a similar DNA testing process to porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PED). PED is another form of coronavirus that killed many piglets in 2013 and was unresponsive to treatment. Several vet labs optimized their equipment and processes to test for PED, helping them determine that older pigs could recover and develop immunity against the virus. Those same labs are still set up for coronavirus testing. We in Dubai Safari Park, particularly within the laboratory Veterinary Hospital, are conducting RT-PCR analysis to test diverse animal species including non-human primates, Carnivores, small mammals, and Ungulates. Even though none of our animals show any respiratory signs, we have conducted this study to ensure that our animal collection is healthy and free of SARS-COV-2.


SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV); Novel coronavirus pneumonia; Respiratory syndrome; Wildlife; Zoo; Exotics; RT-PCR; Primates; Feline; Carnivores; Mammals

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Copyright (c) 2023 Jameela H. Ghazaly, Jayadevan M. Mandiram, Murad B. Mustafa, Muna A. Alhajeri

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Journal of Zoo Biology
ISSN: 2706-9761 (Online), 2706-9753 (Print)
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