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Four lions at Chennai's Arignar zoo found positive for Delta variant of COVID-19

11:57 AM Jun 19, 2021 | FPJ Web Desk

Chennai: The Genome sequencing analysis of four samples taken from lions at the Arignar Anna Zoological Park in Vandalur revealed that they were all affected by the delta (B.1.617.2) variant of COVID-19.

"Genome sequencing of 4 of the samples was done at NIHSAD, Bhopal. Analysis of the sequences shows that all the 4 sequences belong to Pangolin lineage B.1.617.2 and are Delta variants as per WHO nomenclature," an official from the release Arignar Anna Zoological Park read.

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The park sent samples of 11 lions housed there to test for SARS CoV-2 four lions on May 24 and seven on May 29 to the ICAR-National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD), Bhopal.

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In its communication on June 3, the institute said samples of 9 lions had tested positive for SARS CoV-2. Thereafter the animals have been under active treatment.

On May 11, 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified B.1.617.2 lineage as a variant of concern (VOC) and said that it showed evidence of higher transmissibility and reduced neutralisation.

The Covid-19 Delta variant, which was first identified in India, is becoming the dominant variant globally because of its significantly increased transmissibility, WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said on Friday.

According to the Covid-19 Weekly Epidemiological Update issued by the WHO on June 15, the Delta variant is now being reported in about 80 countries around the world. Another 12 countries and areas are “reporting the detection of B.1.617 without further specification of lineage at this time."

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