Tigers and Cats Infected with COVID-19 | Zhou Jinfeng Talked at Round Table Panel: Need to Strengthen the Management of Common Health and Zoonosis (I)
2020/5/4 17:21:00 本站

At present, the COVID-19 pandemic is wreaking havoc on the world, affecting countless people’s nerves. People’s Daily, CCTV, Xinhua News Agency and other media platforms have reported that animals were infected with COVID-19. Dr. Zhou Jinfeng, Secretary-General of China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation (CBCGDF), recently gave an interview to the cover reporter. During the round table expert meeting, he made a relevant explanation on the situation of “tiger, cat, dog” and other animals being infected with COVID-19, the way of transmission, and how to get along with the animals.


Zhou Jinfeng said that there is some evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted from person to person through droplets. Also, COVID-19 can be transmitted back to humans through infected animals, which is possible from a scientific point of view. However, the transmission efficiency of the virus and the degree of human contact with the infected animals should be considered comprehensively. Cats are unlikely to be the intermediate hosts because they live with humans for a long time. If the cat carries the virus, the outbreak will not break out at this time. In terms of vaccines, we should strengthen vaccine research and effective management, and also strengthen the management and prevention of common health and zoonoses in the future. During the epidemic prevention and control period, people should not only protect themselves but should also protect their pets. People need to adjust the relationship between people and animals, between people and nature. People should also reexamine some problems in daily life, and reduce interference and improper contact with wild animals.


Cover Round Table | Tigers and cats tested as positive, is the COVID-19 “stronger than the tiger”?


Round Table Experts:


1. Li Gang: Professor, doctoral supervisor, Beijing Institute of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Medicine, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Second level researcher of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, expert of former animal epidemic prevention expert committee of Ministry of agriculture.


2. Zhou Jinfeng: Secretary-General of China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation (CBCGDF); member of the 9th, 10th, and 11th CPPCC National Committee; vice-chairman of World Green Design Organization (WGDO).


3. Li Guangrong: Professor of Binzhou Medical College of Shandong Province; expert of liver diseases and infectious diseases; the first top professional and technical personnel of Shandong Provincial Department of Health; published 7 medical monographs such as “Critical Infectious Diseases” in the professional field.


COVID-19 and animals are inextricably linked, and always affecting the public nerves.


In an interview with the People’s Daily on April 12th, Zhong Nanshan said that “recently, some animals such as dogs, cats, and tigers have been tested positive for nucleic acids. Whether they are caused by pollution or infected remains to be seen.”


CCTV previously reported that a tiger in the Bronx Zoo in New York City was infected with the COVID-19, which may have been transmitted by a staff member, the zoo said on April 5th.


According to a new study published on April 8th in the US journal Science, COVID-19 is easy to infect cats and ferrets, but weak to dogs, pigs, chickens, and ducks, Xinhua News Agency reported.


This research comes from the research team of Bu Zhigao, academician Chen Hualan, researcher Wu Guizhen, researcher Tan Wenjie, etc. of Harbin Institute of veterinary medicine, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, CDC of viral disease control and prevention in China. The study also showed that the experimentally infected cats can transmit the virus through the air, and the incidence of the disease in the younger cats was more serious than that in the older ones.


On April 9th, in an article entitled “The Study of Susceptibility of Ferrets, Cats, Dogs and Other Domestic Animals to SARS-CoV-2”, it was pointed out that in view of the current prevalence of COVID-19 in a wide range of people around the world, the risk of transmission to animals in close contact with human beings is increasing day by day. Therefore, it is very urgent to carry out the study on the susceptibility of domestic animals to the virus in close contact with people, to assess whether domestic animals are facing the risk of virus harm and becoming potential intermediate hosts, and to provide the scientific basis for the epidemic situation.


Is the COVID-19 “stronger than the tiger”? Can animals infected with COVID-19 be transmitted to humans through droplets and other ways? How to get along with the animals around us? In response to these problems, recently, the cover news interviewed three experts.


COVID-19 is less likely to be transmitted to humans through cat droplets.


Cover News: COVID-19 test results of cats in Wuhan and tigers in New York Zoo are positive. Is it possible that it was transmitted by a human?


Li Gang: according to the current reported cases, cats and tigers infected with COVID-19 have experience of contact with people, and there are people infected with COVID-19 (including asymptomatic and symptomatic patients). Domestic cats, in particular, generally have little chance of being transmitted by the outside world. They usually have close contact with people. Therefore, the COVID-19 infected by the tigers and cats is likely to be infected by humans.


Li Guangrong: at present, the origin and intermediate host of COVID-19 are still unsolved. The above research and new findings are of great significance. “The virus in cats and tigers is transmitted by humans”, this reverse zoonoses is not impossible, but it needs more reliable evidence. These are the normal views in the process of discussion, not the final conclusion. Modern medicine is evidence-based medicine, everything depends on evidence. My advice is: look for more evidence and make careful conclusions.


Cover News: relevant research shows that COVID-19 can be spread among cats through respiratory droplets. Is it possible that humans can also be infected through animal droplets?


Li Gang: If the virus can be transmitted between cats through respiratory droplets, in theory, the virus discharged by cats can also be transmitted to people through respiratory droplets. However, the success of infection depends on the number and virulence of the virus discharged from the cat. At present, only laboratory data show that cats in the experiment can spread. More research is needed to verify whether the experimental results can be reappeared in the natural environment. Under the laboratory conditions, the number of viruses inoculated to cats is relatively large and the virulence is relatively strong, and the distance between cats, enclosed environment, air quality, and other conditions is different from the natural conditions. Under normal circumstances, cats are less likely to transmit the virus to humans through respiratory droplets. Since the spread rate of respiratory droplets in cats is not as strong as that in humans when they breathe, cough or sneeze, and the distance between human nose and mouth is generally far from cats.


Zhou Jinfeng: We think this possibility exists. There is some evidence that COVID-19 is transmitted by droplets among people. It is very likely that droplets are a major mode of transmission. It is possible from a scientific point of view that viruses like COVID-19, which are already residential and infectious in humans, can be transmitted back to humans through infected animals. However, it still depends on the actual speed of transmission of the virus and the degree of human contact with infected animals.

Original Chinese article:


By / Xue Tongtong Modified / Maggie