In an advance that will help scientists track coronavirus variants in wild and domesticated animals, researchers report they can now detect exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus in any animal species. Currently, most coronavirus antibody tests require specialized chemical reagents to detect host antibody responses against the virus in each species tested, impeding research across species. The virus that causes COVID-19 in humans also infects a variety of animals, said University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign pathobiology professor and virologist Ying Fang, PhD, who led the new research. So far, the virus has been detected in cats, dogs, rodents, deer, apes, and a variety of farm and zoo animals. The virus also mutates in these hosts, potentially leading to new variants that can endanger their--and human--health.
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