Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is one of seven coronaviruses known to infect humans. Different from other concerned coronavirus and influenza viruses, SARS-CoV-2 has a higher basic reproduction number and thus transmits more efficiently among hosts. Testing animals for SARS-CoV-2 may help decipher virus reservoirs, transmission and pathogenesis. Here, we report the first detection of SARS-CoV-2 in three snow leopards (Panthera uncia) in a zoo in Kentucky in 2020, the first year of the pandemic. Sequence analysis revealed that snow leopard SARS-CoV-2 strains were non-variant B.1.2 lineage and closely correlated with human strains. One snow leopard shed SARS-CoV-2 in faeces up to 4 weeks. Based on clinical signs and viral shedding periods and levels in the three snow leopards, animal-to-animal transmission events could not be excluded. Further testing of SARS-CoV-2 in animals is needed.
- Panthera uncia
- viral shedding
- snow leopard
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)