New York: 1.3 million Covid-positive mice found, “risk of new variants”

Millions of rats roaming the streets of New York City could pose a new threat. According to one of the researchers of an American study, rodents could be a vehicle of Covid : In the past it has been shown that the virus can infect pets, such as dogs and cats, big cats and some wild animals. Transition from these animals to humans has never been verified and, even in the case of mice, is likely to be very rare.

However, researchers have found that rodents are highly sensitive to the virus and all its variants. His team of researchers looked at 79 rats in the fall of 2021, found mostly in Brooklyn parks. Thirteen of them (16.5%) tested positive. Expanding the positivity rate to the rodent population of all of New York City (about 8 million), the researchers speculated that about 1.3 million mice could be infected. What worries scientists is that rodents can not only infect people but that they can become a vehicle for the development of new variants. “ This is one of the first studies to show that SARS-CoV-2 variants can infect the rodent population in a major urban area in the United States,”said research leader Dr. Wan of the University of Missouri.

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“It is very likely that mice play an important role in the evolution of Alpha, Delta, Omicron variants, which could result in the emergence of new variants ,” the team pointed out. But, warned Professor Wan, more studies are needed to understand the threat rodents pose to the development of new mutations and to humans. The study, notes Giovanni D’Agata , president of the ” Rights Desk “, was published in ” mBio “, a bimonthly peer-reviewed open access scientific journal published by the American Society for Microbiology in association with the American Academy of Microbiology .

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