While examining the rat population in the NYC sewers, scientists came across different Covid strains, one of which doesn’t have any amino acids seen in human patients, suggesting that it is exclusive to these rodents. Their findings were published in Nature Communications.
Researchers Examined “Cryptic Lineages” of the Coronavirus Found in the Sewage System of New York City
Marc C. Johnson, a virologist at the University of Missouri and the study co-author, says that one of the changes in amino acids in the virus hasn’t been noticed in human patients, which leads to the conclusion that it is exclusive to the rat population.
Johnson also said that rats couldn’t get infected with the original coronavirus strain but are susceptible to Alpha, Beta, and Gamma. Other animals susceptible to different Covid strains include dogs, cats, minks, lions, and tigers.
Researchers Suspect the Next COVID Strain May Develop Within the Vermin Population
Even though they did not find evidence that Covid circulates through the rat population, the scientists are worried that the next strain may develop within the vermin population. The unsanitary conditions, high population density, and gene mixing create perfect conditions for it.
Residents Should Take Steps to Prevent Contact
While New York residents are waiting for the officials to react, it is wise to increase personal safety and prevent vermin from entering homes. All openings, cracks, and holes should be closed with cement or metal. Windows and doors should be closed, and pet doors additionally secured.
One of the most common ways of unwanted animals entering homes is through pet doors, so a door that would open only for the family pet (microchip scanner) would be a good solution.