The ecology of viruses in urban rodents with a focus on SARS-CoV-2

Fisher, Adam M, Airey, George, Liu, Yuchen, Gemmell, Matthew, Thomas, Jordan, Bentley, Eleanor G, Whitehead, Mark A ORCID: 0000-0002-0452-1511, Paxton, William A ORCID: 0000-0001-5200-0801, Pollakis, Georgios ORCID: 0000-0002-9659-5461, Paterson, Steve ORCID: 0000-0002-1307-2981
et al (show 1 more authors) (2023) The ecology of viruses in urban rodents with a focus on SARS-CoV-2. EMERGING MICROBES & INFECTIONS, 12 (1). 2217940-.

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Wild animals are naturally infected with a range of viruses, some of which may be zoonotic. During the human COVID pandemic there was also the possibility of rodents acquiring SARS-CoV-2 from people, so-called reverse zoonoses. To investigate this, we sampled rats (<i>Rattus norvegicus</i>) and mice (<i>Apodemus sylvaticus</i>) from urban environments in 2020 during the human COVID-19 pandemic. We metagenomically sequenced lung and gut tissue and faeces for viruses, PCR screened for SARS-CoV-2, and serologically surveyed for anti-SARS-CoV-2 Spike antibodies. We describe the range of viruses that we found in these two rodent species. We found no molecular evidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection, though in rats we found lung antibody responses and evidence of neutralization ability that are consistent with rats being exposed to SARS-CoV-2 and/or exposed to other viruses that result in cross-reactive antibodies.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Urban, rodents, virus, virome, COVID, zoonosis, SARS-CoV-2
Divisions: Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences > Institute of Infection, Veterinary and Ecological Sciences
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 24 May 2023 08:09
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2023 12:48
DOI: 10.1080/22221751.2023.2217940
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