Why tigers get coronavirus but your dog will be fine
Hey guys I’m Cleo. I’m a producer here atVox 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 daywe take on a question about thisconfusing moment that we’re livingthrough. 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 Nadiathe tiger but if not allow me tointroduce you. A tiger at a zoo in NewYork has tested positive for coronavirusResearchers think that she caught itfrom a human zookeeper. At the zoo fouryear old Nadia her sister Azul, two amurTigers and three lions all developed drycoughs. Don’t worry. Nadia’s doing a lotbetter now but her illness highlightedsomething about the virus itself it’szoonotic. That means it can transmitbetween humans and animals. Now the bondbetween a Pomeranian and its owner mayhave taken a serious turn. The studyshowed Winston the family’s fun-lovingpug contracted COVID-19. According to theCDC and the US Department of Agriculturetwo cats in separate parts of New Yorktested positive. All of this has me wondering. Which animals can catchcoronavirus? Should I be worried about mypet? I’m Cleo Abram and this is answeredby 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’tgrow very well in dogs. People found outthat dogs have it just out of curiositybecause the people in the homes werevery sick and they thought well let’sjust test the dogs and see if they mighthave it. And they picked up the virus butthe dogs weren’t sick. Cats seem to be more susceptible and cats can actuallyinfect other catsbut they don’t get very sick. While it is possible for ourpets to get very mild cases of COVID-19the CDC says “The riskof animals spreading COVID-19 to peopleis considered to be low. “So it seems likewe 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 soresearchers are trying to figure outwhich animals are most susceptible. Once the virus breaks into an animal’s bodyit needs to fit itself inside a specialreceptor on the target cell called ACE2the virus and receptor act kind of likea lock and key. The more easily the SARS-CoV2 virus latches on to aspecies ACE2 receptor,the more likely that animal is to become infected. Each species’ ACE2 receptor is a little bit different,so not all animals getinfected 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, butit’s not the whole story because we knowthat pigs actually don’t have aproductive infection even though theycan receive the virus. Which is why somany 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 startto a way to look at susceptibility. The ACE2 receptor is really only anindicator of whether or not an animalcan become infected with coronavirus. Itdoesn’t tell us anything about howcoronavirus can spread between humansand 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 tohumans?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’skissing cousins and his brothers andsisters. We find those in bats. Many ofthe viruses that make us sick originallycame from the animal kingdom. The commoncold originated in camels. Many strains of flu come from pigs and birds. HIVtransferred to humans from a chimpanzee. Ebola, SARS, Marburg, Nipah, and COVID-19have all been linked to bats. Is there a specific reason whythese diseases come from bats as opposedto other animals?There’s over 1,400 types of bats sothere are a lot of viruses for onething. 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 ofother animals are. So the viruses of course then, it’s easier to share viruseswith things you’re related to likehumans and gorillas can share a lot moreviruses than anybody else. Why is it though that when a virus like SARS-CoV2jumps from animals to people it’s sodeadly to us whereas it’s less so to theoriginal host animal?All of us have viruses and bacteria living on us and wehave grown used to them and over themillennia we’ve actually evolved to usethem when we spread them among speciesthey have very different reactions. Over the last hundred years, the number of zoonotic diseases in people has beenincreasing. On average a new infectiousdisease emerges in humans every fourmonths and 75% of them come from animals. Zoonotic diseases have been around aslong as there have been people andanimals together. What’s new is what wecall these new emerging infectiousdiseases and that’s a new virus likeCOVID-19. Those are becoming more andmore common. We have more exposure to wildlife as we encroach into wild areasas we disturb habitats. They spreadfaster 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 fromCOVID-19. But we should be worried about health and our relationship with theenvironment. We need to detect thesethings right away; not wait until theyturn 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 aquestion that’s kind of in theatmosphere right now and asks an expertfor the answers that might make livingthrough this moment just a little biteasier. So if you want to check it outyou can go to the link either up thereor 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.