COVID-19: Experimental infection of fruit bats, ferrets, pigs and chicken with SARS-CoV-2

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COVID-19: Experimental infection of fruit bats, ferrets, pigs and chicken with SARS-CoV-2

Published 20 April 2020 | updated 25 November 2020

Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut (2020) Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2: Fruit bats and ferrets are susceptible, pigs and chickens are not [online] Available at: [Accessed 13 April 2020]

A press release from the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut reports on another study in which animals were intranasally inoculated with SARS-CoV-2 and monitored for virus shedding by samples taken from the upper respiratory tract, faecal samples and necropsy samples; following euthanasia at different times.

The results indicated that intranasal inoculation of 9 Egyptian fruit bats (Rousettus aegyptiacus) resulted in a transient infection in the respiratory tract, with virus replication detectable in the nasal epithelium, trachea, lung and lung-associated lymphatic tissue. These animals did not show any symptoms of disease or infect in-contact animals.

The study indicates that ferrets can be efficiently infected with SARS-CoV-2; the virus replicates well, mainly in the respiratory tract, and can be transmitted to fellow animals, even when the animals show no symptoms of disease.

It is also reported that under experimental conditions, neither pigs nor chickens were found to be susceptible to infection with SARS-CoV-2.

This study has now been published as

Schlottau, K. et al. (2020) SARS-CoV-2 in fruit bats, ferrets, pigs, and chickens: an experimental transmission study. The Lancet Microbe, 1 (5), pp. e218-e225.

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