In an effort to track the evolution of SARS-CoV-2, scientists are now testing wildlife to monitor how, how much, and where animals are spreading the virus, the Associated Press reports today.
With SARS-CoV-2 infections popping up in wildlife populations in the US and internationally, researchers are increasingly concerned that current and future variants could establish themselves and rapidly spread within a reservoir species. "It's possible that the virus is already perhaps circulating in multiple animals," a Pennsylvania State University virology expert told the AP. Without surveillance, the virus could leave people "completely blindsided."
Already, three international organizations — the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Organization for Animal Health, and the World Health Organization — have already called for countries to make COVID-19 surveillance in animals a priority, according to the AP.