Guidelines for COVID-19 testing in zoo, captive wild animals
Hyderabad, June 21: The Laboratory for the Conservation of Endangered Species (LaCONES) of CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in Hyderabad has released guidelines for COVID-19 tests on captive animals.
LaCONES is one of the four designated centres for testing animal samples for possible coronavirus infection, a press release from the CCMB said on Monday.
The guidelines provide detailed protocols that include pictorials and frequently asked questions for an easier understanding of those collecting samples for COVID testing in wildlife, Vinay K Nandicoori, Director, CSIR-CCMB, said. LaCONES started testing animal samples for possible SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infection in August 2020.
The scientists found the first positive samples from Asiatic lions in the Nehru Zoological Park, Hyderabad, in April 2021.
At that time, LaCONES team tried testing for coronavirus using different kinds of nasal, oropharyngeal, rectal and fecal samples from the animals. LaCONES regularly tests wildlife samples using DNA-based molecular biology tools to solve wildlife cases.
These tests are similar to the ones being used for coronavirus testing. We hope that our recommendations help the zoo staff in collecting and packing the samples appropriately before they send out to animal testing centres will smoothen the process for the zoos as well as testing centres.
Given how difficult it is to get samples from animals, it is all the more important that we make most of the samples we get, said Karthikeyan Vasudevan, scientist-in-charge, LaCONES, CSIR- CCMB, said.