TVO Talks to OVC Prof About COVID-19 in Animals

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Prof. Scott Weese holding up a petri dish with a dog next to him

Prof. Scott Weese

TVO wanted to know if animals play a role in the transmission of COVID-19. The educational television network and media organization turned to Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) professor Scott Weese for insights in a recent story.

Weese said it is currently unknown whether there is a risk or what the risks are related to animals and the transmission of the virus. It is fairly certain that COVID-19 came from an animal, likely a bat, then was passed on to a mammal and transmitted into the human population.

“Predominantly, this is a human problem, but what we’re worried about is animals being vectors of infection or being a reservoir,” Weese told TVO.

“We don’t want to have it in our domestic or wild animal populations. If we look back to the original SARS virus, which is closely related to this one, some domestic animal species were susceptible — at least experimentally.”

He added he feels the coming weeks and months will provide a better idea of the range of species that are susceptible to COVID-19.

Weese is a veterinary internal medicine specialist and chief of infection control at OVC.