Eight Asiatic Lions Test Positive for Coronavirus in India

The second wave of coronavirus has hit India like a tsunami. The healthcare workers are devoted to saving lives across the country amid oxygen shortages and overwhelmed hospitals. While the people in India are grappling with the seriousness of the pandemic, eight Asiatic lions at Hyderabad’s Nehru Zoological Park have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology-Laboratory for Conservation of Endangered Species (CCMB-LaCONES) informed the forest authorities that the RT-PCR tests of the big cats came positive. The lions were tested after they displayed signs of respiratory distress and other mild symptoms.

Eight Asiatic Lions Test Positive for Coronavirus in India

Eight Asiatic lions at Hyderabad’s Nehru Zoological Park have tested positive for the coronavirus | Image: Gir National Park

The big cats developed a dry cough, nasal discharge and loss of appetite which altered the caretakers at the zoo, and soon the veterinary team was summoned. The CCMB carried out a thorough investigation of the samples for genome sequencing to find out if the strain came from humans or not.

The scientists advised the officials to take precautions and start medications. The zoo authorities will be conducting a CT scan of the animals to know the impact of the virus on their lungs.

CCMB Director Rakesh Mishra said,

After we conducted RT-PCR tests, it was confirmed that eight of them are positive. The report suggests that the virus might have first infected the animals’ caregivers and was later transmitted to the lions. We have given medical treatment and instructions to the zoo officials on how to take care of the animals and to make sure other animals don’t get infected with the virus.

Further study of the samples has revealed that the infection was not caused by any modification of concern. The eight infected lions have been isolated from the rest and have been provided with due care and necessary treatment, to which the animals have responded well and are recovering.

In August 2020, a tiger was tested positive for coronavirus at the Bronx Zoo in New York City, while six other big cats were showing symptoms of the illness. However, it is the first instance in India where animals have been infected by the novel coronavirus.

Via: Press Release

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