Which Animals Catch COVID? This Database Has Dozens of Species and Counting


Tracking how SARS-CoV-2 spreads among animals could help us prepare for the next pandemic


The virus that causes COVID-19 is a prolific sack of genes that targets not just humans but nonhuman animals as well. And just as humans and animals can infect one another, animals can also infect other animals, says Amélie Desvars-Larrive, an epidemiologist at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna. Scientists have learned a lot about how COVID spreads in humans but less about how it spreads between animals.


To make it easier to study the connections among humans, animals and the virus, Desvars-Larrive and a team of researchers gathered scattered reports of COVID-infected mammals from all over the world to create a public database. Understanding how the virus spreads between nonhuman mammals, and then between those mammals and humans, can help us better manage the current pandemic—and prepare for the next one.