Investigating the role of animals as hosts for SARS-CoV-2 and its transmission to humans
It is apparent by now that SARS-CoV-2 has become established in human populations and not in animals, however, determining the susceptibility of wild, domestic and farm animals is essential in order to establish their respective role in SARS-CoV-2 transmission and to prevent future disease spread. There is no evidence that companion animals contribute to human infections with SARS-CoV-2; however, human to animal transmission and subsequent animal to animal transmission can produce viral shedding and increase the risk of infection. With the exception of farmed mink, the role of agricultural animals as a potential host for SARS-CoV-2 has remained poorly investigated. Considering the large number of livestock globally and the direct or indirect contact these animals have with humans, information pertaining to their susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 and role in virus transmission is urgently needed.