Preprint Review Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Risk Assessment of SARS-CoV-2 in Antarctic Wildlife

Version 1 : Received: 20 August 2020 / Approved: 21 August 2020 / Online: 21 August 2020 (09:21:25 CEST)

How to cite: Barbosa, A.; Vansani, A.; Morandini, V.; Grimaldi, W.; Vanstreels, R.E.; Diaz, J.I.; Boulinier, T.; Dewar, M.; Gonzalez-Acuña, D.; Gray, R.; McMahon, C.R.; Miller, G.; Power, M.; Gamble, A.; Wille, M. Risk Assessment of SARS-CoV-2 in Antarctic Wildlife. Preprints 2020, 2020080478 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202008.0478.v1). Barbosa, A.; Vansani, A.; Morandini, V.; Grimaldi, W.; Vanstreels, R.E.; Diaz, J.I.; Boulinier, T.; Dewar, M.; Gonzalez-Acuña, D.; Gray, R.; McMahon, C.R.; Miller, G.; Power, M.; Gamble, A.; Wille, M. Risk Assessment of SARS-CoV-2 in Antarctic Wildlife. Preprints 2020, 2020080478 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202008.0478.v1).

Abstract

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has spread rapidly to most parts of the world, causing high numbers of deaths and significant social and economic impacts. SARS-CoV-2 is a novel coronavirus with a suggested zoonotic origin and with the potential for cross-species transmission among animals. Antarctica can be considered the only continent free of SARS-CoV-2 although at the end of the 2019-2020 tourist season, at least one SARS-CoV-2 positive tourist visited the Antarctic Peninsula. Therefore, concerns have been expressed regarding the potential human introduction of this virus to the continent through the activities of research or tourism with potential effects including those related to human health, but also the potential for virus transmission to Antarctic wildlife. This reverse-zoonotic transmission risk to Antarctic wildlife is assessed considering the available information on host susceptibility, dynamics of the infection in humans, and contact interactions between humans and Antarctic wildlife. Measures to reduce the risk are proposed as well as the identification of knowledge gaps related to this issue.

Subject Areas

Antarctica; coronavirus; COVID-19; mitigation measures; reverse zoonoses; risk assessment; SARS-CoV-2; wildlife

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