Wildlife Supply Chains for Human Consumption Increase Coronaviruses’ Spillover Risk to People

Study appears in pre-print journal bioRxiv in advance of peer-review
Wildlife Conservation Society
17-Jun-2020 10:50 AM EDT, by Wildlife Conservation Society

Newswise — HA NOI (June 17, 2020) – A new study found that animals sampled in the wildlife-trade supply chain bound for human consumption had high proportions of coronaviruses, and that the proportion of positives significantly increases as animals travel from traders, to large markets, to restaurants.

The study, which appears in the pre-print journal bioRxiv, is by a team of scientists from WCS, the Department of Animal Health of the Viet Nam Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Viet Nam National University of Agriculture, EcoHealth Alliance, and One Health Institute of the University of California, Davis.

Wildlife in the trade supply chain are often under stress and confined at high densities with other animals from multiple sources which likely results in increased shedding of coronaviruses. The authors forewarn of the potential risk of viral spillover into people through the wildlife trade.

The authors indicate that stress and poor nutrition likely contribute to decreasing animal immune functions resulting in increased shedding and amplification of coronaviruses along the supply chain. The findings in rodents illuminate the potential for coronavirus shedding in other wildlife supply chains (e.g. civets, pangolins) where similarly large numbers of animals are collected, transported, and confined.

The purpose of the study was to gain a better understanding of coronavirus presence and diversity in wildlife at three wildlife-human interfaces including live wildlife trade chains, wildlife farming, and bat-human interfaces. This work represents an important demonstration of capacity and a significant contribution from Viet Nam to the field, laboratory, and scientific approaches critical to understanding and addressing zoonotic disease threats. The consensus PCR approach for viral detection is a cost-effective tool for detecting both known and novel viruses and co-infections in a variety of taxa, sample types, and interfaces.

Researchers collected samples at 70 sites in Viet Nam, and detected six distinct taxonomic units of known coronaviruses. There is no current evidence to suggest these particular viruses were a human-health threat, but the laboratory techniques used in the study can be utilized to detect important emerging or unknown viruses in humans, wildlife, and livestock in the future.

The team found high proportions of positive samples among field rats destined for human consumption. The proportion of positives significantly increased along the supply chain from traders (21 percent), to large markets (32 percent) to restaurants (56 percent). Coronaviruses were detected on two-thirds of the surveyed wildlife farms, and six percent of rodents raised on the farms were positive. A bat and a bird coronavirus were found in rodent fecal samples collected from wildlife farms suggesting either environmental mixing or viral sharing among species. Coronavirus detection rates in rodent populations sampled in their ‘natural’ habitat are closer to 0-2 percent.

Said Amanda Fine, WCS Health Program Associate Director, Asia, and a co-author of the study: “Wildlife supply chains, and the conditions the animals experience while in the supply chain, appear to greatly amplify the prevalence of coronaviruses. In addition, we documented exposure of rodents on wildlife farms to both bat and bird coronaviruses. These high prevalence rates and diversity of coronaviruses, added to the species mixing we see in the wildlife trade, creates more opportunities for coronavirus recombination events as well as spillover.”

The authors warn that the trade in wildlife facilitates close contact between people and multiple species of wildlife taxa shedding coronaviruses. This provides opportunities for intra- and inter-species transmission and potential recombination of coronaviruses.

The wildlife supply chain from the field to the restaurant provides multiple opportunities for such spillover events to occur. To minimize the public health risks of viral disease emergence from wildlife and to safeguard livestock-based production systems, the authors recommend precautionary measures that restrict the killing, commercial breeding, transport, buying, selling, storage, processing, and consuming of wild animals.

The emergence of SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, and now SARS-CoV-2 highlight the importance of the coronavirus viral family to affect global public health. The world must increase vigilance through building and improving detection capacity; actively conducting surveillance to detect and characterize coronaviruses in humans, wildlife, and livestock; and to inform human behaviors in order to reduce zoonotic viral transmission to humans. 


Hoang Bich Thuy, WCS Viet Nam Country Program Director and co-author explains: “Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the Government of Viet Nam has been taking strong actions to enforce wildlife trade laws and is considering the prohibition of wildlife trade and consumption as directed by the Prime Minister in his Official Letter No. 1744/VPCP-KGVX dated 6 March 2020 of the Government Office. This research provides important baseline information and suggests areas for targeted studies to provide more evidence for the development of new policies and/or revision of the legal framework in Viet Nam to prevent future pandemics by mitigating risks of transmitting pathogens from animals to humans at key nodes along the wildlife supply chain. Successful interventions will be those that support a significant reduction in the volume and diversity of species traded, and the number of people involved in the trade of wildlife.”

This study was made possible USAID’s Emerging Pandemic Threats PREDICT project with cooperation from the government of Viet Nam.

###

SEE ORIGINAL STUDY




Filters close

Showing results

110 of 2776
Newswise:Video Embedded protocol-needed-to-monitor-covid-19-disease-course
VIDEO
Released: 3-Aug-2020 9:05 PM EDT
Protocol needed to monitor COVID-19 disease course
University of Washington School of Medicine and UW Medicine

Patients with underlying conditions such as asthma or other lung problems should be checked on regularly by pulmonologists or primary-care doctors for at least six months. Some will need to be monitored for one to three years, according to a new opinion piece posted online today in The Lancet-Respiratory Medicine.

Newswise: UM Cardiology Researchers Studying How COVID-19 Affects the Heart
Released: 3-Aug-2020 3:10 PM EDT
UM Cardiology Researchers Studying How COVID-19 Affects the Heart
University of Miami Health System, Miller School of Medicine

COVID-19 is shown to impact the heart and, in some cases, have long-lasting cardiac effects. To discover the extent to which COVID-19 affects the heart, cardiologists and researchers with the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine have begun multiple studies.

Newswise: Tackling the Bioethics Challenges Raised by COVID-19
Released: 3-Aug-2020 3:05 PM EDT
Tackling the Bioethics Challenges Raised by COVID-19
University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing

The diverse situations experienced by health-care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic often present serious ethical challenges. From the allocation of resources and triage protocols to health-care worker and patient rights and the management of clinical trials, new ethical questions have come to the forefront of today’s global public health emergency.

Newswise: 239156_web.jpg
Released: 3-Aug-2020 2:50 PM EDT
New species of fungus sticking out of beetles named after the COVID-19 quarantine
Pensoft Publishers

A major comprehensive study on Herpomycetales and Laboulbeniales, two orders of unique ectoparasitic fungi associated with insects and other arthropods (class Laboulbeniomycetes) in Belgium and the Netherlands was published in the open-access, peer-reviewed scholarly journal MycoKeys.

Released: 3-Aug-2020 1:30 PM EDT
Consumer Behavior Has Shifted Significantly During Pandemic, Survey Reveals
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about an increase in telework and online commerce, and a significant decrease in the number of personal trips people are making. Understanding the effects of these rapid changes on the economy, supply chains, and the environment will be essential, as some of these behaviors will continue even after the pandemic has ended. Researchers from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute recently presented the results of two sets of surveys they conducted in an effort to quantify and understand these unprecedented shifts.

access_time Embargo lifts in 2 days
Embargo will expire: 5-Aug-2020 12:05 AM EDT Released to reporters: 3-Aug-2020 12:25 PM EDT

A reporter's PressPass is required to access this story until the embargo expires on 5-Aug-2020 12:05 AM EDT The Newswise PressPass gives verified journalists access to embargoed stories. Please log in to complete a presspass application. If you have not yet registered, please Register. When you fill out the registration form, please identify yourself as a reporter in order to advance to the presspass application form.

31-Jul-2020 4:05 PM EDT
The effects of COVID-19 on emergency visits, hospitalizations
Mayo Clinic

COVID-19 swept into the U.S., hospitals across the country have reported that their emergency departments are emptying out. In a new study published Monday, Aug. 3, in JAMA Internal Medicine, a team of researchers from multiple institutions provides insights into this phenomenon.

Newswise: Important Dementia Studies Continuing at UK Despite Ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic
Released: 3-Aug-2020 10:20 AM EDT
Important Dementia Studies Continuing at UK Despite Ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic
University of Kentucky

The COVID-19 pandemic brought many things to a screeching halt and continues to impact our daily lives. However, important research at the University of Kentucky’s Sanders-Brown Center on Aging (SBCoA) is continuing under extreme caution and deep dedication. A monumental study in the field of dementia research is set to get underway in the coming weeks at UK.


Showing results

110 of 2776

close
2.15555