Researchers and lawmakers are putting new resources into another line of attack against COVID-19; animals. The animal-human COVID-connection has long been known, as it has for other diseases.
“Of course, we’re all excited about the fact that we’re getting the shots in the arms for humans,” said South Dakota Congressman Dusty Johnson. “But there are an increasing number of SARS-COVID-2 cases in animals. And that presents a threat to humans, as well, of virus reservoirs, genetic mutation, transmission back to humans.”
Johnson said those cases could further endanger human lives and make human vaccines less effective.
“The good news is, there are at least two American companies that are working on coronavirus vaccines for mink. Now, those animals, the reason I bring up mink, is that they have, in large numbers, grown sick and died.”
Johnson proposed, then withdrew, an amendment to boost dollars for animal surveillance and vaccine research, but quickly won commitments from panel leaders to work with him on the issue.
COVID-19 is similar to a virus that was found in horseshoe bats in China, but the true origin of the virus and how it first infected people is still unknown.
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