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COVID-19—Zoonosis or Emerging Infectious Disease?

Haider, N; Rothman-Ostrow, P; Osman, AY; Arruda, LB; Macfarlane-Berry, L; Elton, L; Thomason, MJ; ... Kock, RA; + view all (2020) COVID-19—Zoonosis or Emerging Infectious Disease? Frontiers in Public Health , 8 , Article 596944. 10.3389/fpubh.2020.596944. Green open access

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Abstract

The World Health Organization defines a zoonosis as any infection naturally transmissible from vertebrate animals to humans. The pandemic of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) caused by SARS-CoV-2 has been classified as a zoonotic disease, however, no animal reservoir has yet been found, so this classification is premature. We propose that COVID-19 should instead be classified an “emerging infectious disease (EID) of probable animal origin.” To explore if COVID-19 infection fits our proposed re-categorization vs. the contemporary definitions of zoonoses, we reviewed current evidence of infection origin and transmission routes of SARS-CoV-2 virus and described this in the context of known zoonoses, EIDs and “spill-over” events. Although the initial one hundred COVID-19 patients were presumably exposed to the virus at a seafood Market in China, and despite the fact that 33 of 585 swab samples collected from surfaces and cages in the market tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, no virus was isolated directly from animals and no animal reservoir was detected. Elsewhere, SARS-CoV-2 has been detected in animals including domesticated cats, dogs, and ferrets, as well as captive-managed mink, lions, tigers, deer, and mice confirming zooanthroponosis. Other than circumstantial evidence of zoonotic cases in mink farms in the Netherlands, no cases of natural transmission from wild or domesticated animals have been confirmed. More than 40 million human COVID-19 infections reported appear to be exclusively through human-human transmission. SARS-CoV-2 virus and COVID-19 do not meet the WHO definition of zoonoses. We suggest SARS-CoV-2 should be re-classified as an EID of probable animal origin.

Type: Article
Title: COVID-19—Zoonosis or Emerging Infectious Disease?
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3389/fpubh.2020.596944
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2020.596944
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2020 Haider, Rothman-Ostrow, Osman, Arruda, Macfarlane-Berry, Elton, Thomason, Yeboah-Manu, Ansumana, Kapata, Mboera, Rushton, McHugh, Heymann, Zumla and Kock. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Keywords: COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, zoonoses, emerging infectious disease (EID), spillover
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Infection and Immunity
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Inst of Clinical Trials and Methodology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Inst of Clinical Trials and Methodology > MRC Clinical Trials Unit at UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10116122
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