A zoo in India reported that nine of their lions tested positive with COVID-19. Unfortunately, an Asiatic lion among the pack died in the Arignar Anna Zoological Park in Chennai, India. The said lion showed symptoms of the coronavirus infection and was tested positive with COVID-19 along with the other lions. The remaining giant cats that tested positive were now under quarantine and are being examined by experts.

Asiatic Lioness Neela in India

(Photo: Simon Brandintel / Pexels)

The Arignar Anna Zoological Park, located in the southern area of India, was too devastated to announce the death of one of its occupants. The nine-year-old lion, unfortunately, died of the coronavirus.

Neela, the Asiatic lioness, was among the few animals which were reported to have contracted COVID-19. Neela experienced the hurtful effects of the virus and was reported dead early in June this year.

The outbreak on the Indian park, also called the Vandalur zoo, was initially identified the day before Neela departed. Among the observations from the lioness include nasal discharge. While Neela was slowly weakened by the virus, the other lions that were tested positive remained asymptomatic. After Neela's departure, the remaining cats were put under quarantine and were safely given antibiotics to protect them from other infections. The Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University experts have continuously monitored and maintained the animals that the lioness left, Daily Mail reports.

Prior to the case in Chennai, few reports of coronavirus-infected animals were recorded around the globe. In Pakistan, a couple of white tiger cubs was infected, and Spain also had lions that tested positive for COVID-19. Aside from the Arignar Anna Zoological Park, some lions located at Hydrebad's zoo, the Nehru Zoological Park, tested positive.

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Human-to-Animal Infection of COVID-19 Possible

The Arignar Anna Zoological Park emphasized in their statement that every animal keeper and the zoo's associates can get the COVID-19 vaccine. The zoo made it clear that a separate team is deployed for each lion pack, and each of the animal keepers for all animals is equipped with PPE. Strict protocols are implemented not only with the park's staff but visiting experts as well.

According to the zoo authorities, they have successfully retrieved samples from the park's largest animals for testing. Through the examination, only one lion, which is pregnant, is excluded from the testing, as experts said that sedating her in the process will weaken her immune system.

NewsMedical reports that a recent study presented at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC confirms the possibility of SARS-CoV-2 transmission from humans to animals. Following the rare events of COVID-19 animal infection, experts were able to theorize that the virus can also infect the respiratory cells of animals, all from cats to monkeys.

The University of Bern's Institute of Infectious Disease IFIK and the Institute of Virology and Immunology IVI experts examined the animal's coronavirus infection cases and published their findings in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases entitled "Susceptibility of Well-Differentiated Airway Epithelial Cell Cultures from Domestic and Wild Animals to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2."

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