New COVID-19 Test for Any Animal


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There’s a concern from epidemiologists that COVID-19 will continue to mutate, and one way that can happen is through wildlife, and then reinfect people which we will have no immunity to the mutated virus. Surveillance and rapid detection in wildlife – and for that matter our companion animals – is now going to be a whole lot more efficient with a new test to detect the COVID-19 coronavirus in any animal, virtually any species, according to the journal mSphere. And in theory, the same technology might be used for any future outbreaks.

SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, has been detected with certainty in cats, dogs, rodents, deer, non-human primates and a variety of farm and zoo animals.

While most coronavirus tests require specialized chemical reagents to detect antibody responses against the virus in each species tested, this one focuses on antibodies against a protein, called the N-protein. That protein is embedded in part of the virus known as the nucleocapsid. The N-protein is a better target for testing, Fang said in a university news release.

The researchers validated their test using samples from various animals whose COVID-19 infection status was known. The tests had a sensitivity of 97 percent, with a 98 percent specificity.

The U.S. National Institutes of Health supported this research.