Why tigers get coronavirus but your dog will be fine


Hey guys I’m Cleo. I’m a producer here at
Vox and I’m also the host of Vox’sfirst-ever daily show.
It’s called Answered, it’s on a newstreaming app called Quibi and every day
we take on a question about thisconfusing moment that we’re living
through. So now I get to share with youguys one of my favorite episodes so far.
Here we go. By now you’ve probably heard of Nadia
the tiger but if not allow me tointroduce you. A tiger at a zoo in New
York has tested positive for coronavirusResearchers think that she caught it
from a human zookeeper. At the zoo fouryear old Nadia her sister Azul, two amur
Tigers and three lions all developed drycoughs. Don’t worry. Nadia’s doing a lot
better now but her illness highlightedsomething about the virus itself it’s
zoonotic. That means it can transmitbetween humans and animals. Now the bond
between a Pomeranian and its owner mayhave taken a serious turn. The study
showed Winston the family’s fun-lovingpug contracted COVID-19. According to the
CDC and the US Department of Agriculturetwo cats in separate parts of New York
tested positive. All of this has me wondering. Which animals can catch
coronavirus? Should I be worried about mypet? I’m Cleo Abram and this is answered
by Vox. Well for most animals that we’veseen that can be infected by COVID-19,
they don’t have very serious symptoms . That’s Dr. William Karesh.
He’s a wildlife veterinarian and anexpert on animals and pandemics. I have a dog. Should I be worried about my dog?No. You should not be worried about your dog. Dogs have been shown in rare cases topick up the virus but the virus doesn’t
grow very well in dogs. People found outthat dogs have it just out of curiosity
because the people in the homes werevery sick and they thought well let’s
just test the dogs and see if they mighthave it. And they picked up the virus but
the dogs weren’t sick. Cats seem to be more susceptible and cats can actually
infect other catsbut they don’t get very sick. While it is possible for our
pets to get very mild cases of COVID-19the CDC says “The risk
of animals spreading COVID-19 to peopleis considered to be low. “So it seems like
we can take our pets getting sick orgetting us sick off our list of worries. But it’s clear that COVID-19 cantransmit between humans and animals so
researchers are trying to figure outwhich animals are most susceptible. Once the virus breaks into an animal’s bodyit needs to fit itself inside a special
receptor on the target cell called ACE2the virus and receptor act kind of like
a lock and key. The more easily the SARS-CoV2 virus latches on to a
species ACE2 receptor,the more likely that animal is to become infected. Each species’ ACE2 receptor is a little bit different,so not all animals get
infected equally. The virus is more likely to bind in humans, camels, cats,
pangolins and batsbut less likely in rats, mice, chickens and guinea pigs. So this is the first part of the storywhich which animals can it bind to, but
it’s not the whole story because we knowthat pigs actually don’t have a
productive infection even though theycan receive the virus. Which is why so
many animals are susceptible to thevirus, but it doesn’t make them sick. We don’t want to jump to too manyconclusions but it’s a beautiful start
to a way to look at susceptibility. The ACE2 receptor is really only an
indicator of whether or not an animalcan become infected with coronavirus. It
doesn’t tell us anything about howcoronavirus can spread between humans
and animals. I’ve heard people talk about bats, about pangolins,about wet markets,So I’m wondering what do we know for sureabout how COVID-19 got from animals to
humans?Well right now we don’t know what the original animal source was. We know that there’s many virusesvery similar to COVID-19 like all it’s
kissing cousins and his brothers andsisters. We find those in bats. Many of
the viruses that make us sick originallycame from the animal kingdom. The common
cold originated in camels. Many strains of flu come from pigs and birds. HIV
transferred to humans from a chimpanzee. Ebola, SARS, Marburg, Nipah, and COVID-19
have all been linked to bats. Is there a specific reason why
these diseases come from bats as opposedto other animals?There’s over 1,400 types of bats sothere are a lot of viruses for one
thing. And then another is genetically,we’re not so distantly related to bats. They’re closer on the evolutionary tree,they’re closer to people than a lot of
other animals are. So the viruses of course then, it’s easier to share viruses
with things you’re related to likehumans and gorillas can share a lot more
viruses than anybody else. Why is it though that when a virus like SARS-CoV2
jumps from animals to people it’s sodeadly to us whereas it’s less so to the
original host animal?All of us have viruses and bacteria living on us and we
have grown used to them and over themillennia we’ve actually evolved to use
them when we spread them among speciesthey have very different reactions. Over the last hundred years,
the number of zoonotic diseases in people has been
increasing. On average a new infectiousdisease emerges in humans every four
months and 75% of them come from animals. Zoonotic diseases have been around as
long as there have been people andanimals together. What’s new is what we
call these new emerging infectiousdiseases and that’s a new virus like
COVID-19. Those are becoming more andmore common. We have more exposure to wildlife as we encroach into wild areasas we disturb habitats. They spread
faster because of air travel and tradeso we live in a new world. For now, we don’t need to worry too much about theanimals in our lives getting sick from
COVID-19. But we should be worried about health and our relationship with the
environment. We need to detect thesethings right away; not wait until they
turn into a pandemicAnd that’s our show! Thanks for watching. Every episode is kind of like that,
it’s five to six minutes long,it takes on a
question that’s kind of in theatmosphere right now and asks an expert
for the answers that might make livingthrough this moment just a little bit
easier. So if you want to check it outyou can go to the link either up there
or in the description down there,Or you can go in your phone and download Quibi
and search for ‘Vox’ or ‘Answered’I’ll be there every day.

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