New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Four lions of Vandalur Arignar Anna Zoological Park, Chennai found infected with the Delta (B.1.617.2) variant of COVID-19. The zoological park had sent samples of 11 lions for testing of SARS CoV-2 in May to the ICAR-National Institute of High-Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD), Bhopal.

"The director ICAR-NIHSAD informed 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.

On June 3, NIHSAD, Bhopal, confirmed that nine lions tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, and since then, the animals are under active treatment.

The zoological park authorities had requested ICAR-National Institute of High-Security Animal Diseases, which also researches emerging and exotic pathogens in animals, to share the results of genome sequencing of the SARS CoV-2 virus that has infected the lions.

Earlier, few big cats at Jaipur and Hyderabad zoos were reported positive for the variant.

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

The state government on Friday, constituted a state-level task force to provide guidance and support to authorities on the prevention of coronavirus infection in captive animals in national parks, reserve forests, wildlife sanctuaries and tiger reserves. The six-member team will be led by TN Environment Secretary Supriya Sahu, who will keep a close watch on vaccination, mapping, disease surveillance and monitoring system.

Earlier this month, a nine-year-old lioness Neela and a 12-year-old male lion Pathbanathan succumbed to COVID-19.

With ANI inputs

Posted By: Niharika Sanjeeiv