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LaCONES-CCMB releases guidelines for Covid-19 testing in zoo animals

Our Bureau Hyderabad | Updated on June 21, 2021

These norms come in the backdrop of rising Covid cases in zoo animals

The Laboratory for the Conservation of Endangered Species (LaCONES) of CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad, have released guidelines for zoo frontline on Covid-19 investigation in captive animals.

These guidelines come in the backdrop of Covid-19 cases that have been reported in zoo animals in the country.

This centre is one of the four designated centres to test animal samples for possible coronavirus infection. With support from Central Zoo Authority and Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Climate Change, these guidelines were released for zoo frontline workers for investigation of Covid-19 in captive animals.

Protocols

“The guidelines provide detailed protocols that include pictorials and frequently asked questionsfor an easier understanding of those collecting samples for Covid testing in wildlife,” said Vinay K Nandicoori, Director, CSIR-CCMB.

LaCONES started testing animal samples for possible SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infection in August 2020. The scientists found the first positive samples from Asiatic lions in Nehru Zoological Park, Hyderabad in April.

During these days, LaCONES has tried testing for coronavirus using different kinds of nasal, oropharyngeal, rectal and fecal samples from the animals. LaCONES regularly tests wildlife samples using DNA-based molecular biology tools to solve wildlife cases. These tests are very similar to the ones being used for coronavirus testing.

“We hope that our recommendations help the zoo staff in collecting and packing the samples appropriately before they send out to animal testing centres will smoothen the process for the zoos as well as testing centres. Given how difficult it is to get samples from animals, it is all the more important that we make most of the samples we get,” Karthikeyan Vasudevan, Scientist-in-charge, LaCONES, CSIR-CCMB, said.

Published on June 21, 2021

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