ShapeShapeauthorShapechevroncrossShapeShapeShapeGrouphamburgerhomeGroupmagnifyShapeShapeShaperssShape

Research continues to determine role of livestock in COVID-19 transmission

The Swine Health Information Center says international research indicates the potential role of pigs in transmitting the virus responsible for COVID-19 is, at most, negligible.

13 April 2020, at 11:28am

The Swine Health Information Center's Global Swine Disease Monitoring Report for April includes information on work by the Friedrich Loeffler-Institut that shows pigs are not susceptible to the virus responsible for COVID-19.

Speaking to Farmscape, SHIC Executive Director Dr Paul Sundberg says the centre is monitoring whether there is any role or interaction with farm animals or pets to ensure, any cross infections or risks to people can be identified and if there are potential animal models that can be used in developing interventions.

"There are a couple of things that are out right now, one from China and the other one from Germany that both show that pigs and chickens are very difficult to infect," says Dr Sundberg.

"By the nasal routes of infection they weren't able to productively infect pigs and chickens with that virus.

"That means that the risk of pigs being involved in the dissemination or transmission of this virus is negligible at best because they couldn't be infected in the laboratories.

"The one thing that is interesting is that they were able to infect ferrets.

"It looks like ferrets might be an animal that could qualify as an animal model for further study of the virus.

"There is a lot of activity going on right now with that virus all over the world, a number of labs looking at these things.

"My understanding is the USDA and, I believe, the CFIA are both going to also be doing some of that research and we welcome that research so we make sure that we know exactly the role or not for farm animals and other animals and hopefully we can get an animal model that will help in the development of mitigations and interventions."