In a first, eight lions test COVID-19 positive in India

The second wave of the novel coronavirus is now showing its sign-on animals as eight Asiatic lions have been found exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms in Hyderabad’s Nehru Zoological Park. This is perhaps the first known case of the human infecting the feline in India.

The city-based Central Government research institute- Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) tested for possible COVID-19 infection on Tuesday.

Both CCMB and Zoo officials have confirmed to Zee Media that the data of tests are being analysed and in the next few hours the results will be disclosed.

“In the next few hours from now we will be able to confirm exact details,” CCMB director Dr. Rakesh Mishra told Zee Media. “Yes, the samples were taken but we cannot divulge more details at this point in time,” a Zoo official told Zee Media who wished not to be named.

It is believed that RT-PCR tests of some of the animals, particularly Asiatic Lions were done as they were looking sick and displaying COVID-like symptoms. There are more than 1000 animals of different varieties spread over nearly 400 acres of Hyderabad Zoo. The Nehru Zoological Park is presently closed for visitors due to the second wave of the pandemic. It is also learned that few of the Zoo employees have been tested positive in the recent past.

Apart from this, according to a report in Business Today, CCMB scientists will also now do genome sequencing to figure out if this strain came from animals or human beings. This case of the lions has also made MoEFCC issue a complete advisory on April 30 to chief wildlife wardens asking them to shut all national parks, sanctuaries, and tiger reserves over fears of transmission.

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