Natural and Experimental SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Domestic and Wild Animals

Viruses. 2021 Oct 4;13(10):1993. doi: 10.3390/v13101993.


SARS-CoV-2 is the etiological agent responsible for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which continues to spread with devastating effects on global health and socioeconomics. The susceptibility of domestic and wild animal species to infection is a critical facet of SARS-CoV-2 ecology, since reverse zoonotic spillover events resulting in SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks in animal populations could result in the establishment of new virus reservoirs. Adaptive mutations in the virus to new animal species could also complicate ongoing mitigation strategies to combat SARS-CoV-2. In addition, animal species susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection are essential as standardized preclinical models for the development and efficacy testing of vaccines and therapeutics. In this review, we summarize the current findings regarding the susceptibility of different domestic and wild animal species to experimental SARS-CoV-2 infection and provide detailed descriptions of the clinical disease and transmissibility in these animals. In addition, we outline the documented natural infections in animals that have occurred at the human-animal interface. A comprehensive understanding of animal susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 is crucial to inform public health, veterinary, and agricultural systems, and to guide environmental policies.

Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; animal models; coronavirus; veterinary science; virology; zoonotic disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Domestic / virology*
  • Animals, Wild / virology*
  • COVID-19 / pathology
  • COVID-19 / veterinary*
  • Disease Reservoirs / veterinary
  • Disease Reservoirs / virology
  • Host Specificity / genetics
  • Host Specificity / physiology
  • SARS-CoV-2 / genetics*
  • Zoonoses