Hamsters can infect humans with Covid: Study

Hong Kong: The Delta variant of Covid-19 can be transmitted from humans to hamsters and then be transferred back to humans, according to a new study.

The new study, published in The Lancet in pre-print and awaiting peer-review, suggests that hamsters can spread the virus back to humans, Jerusalem Post reported.

The study revealed that the first-ever hamster-to-human transmission was found on January 15, 2022 in Hong Kong, linked to a hamster imported from the Netherlands, the report said.

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Before this, however, Hong Kong had ordered the culling of thousands of hamsters in pet shops, particularly those purchased on or after December 22.

Currently, at least two people in Hong Kong were confirmed to have been infected by these hamsters, with one other person infected through human-to-human transmission after this.

If the findings are accurate and hamsters can indeed transmit Covid-19 to humans, this could become a serious concern, as they would serve as yet another vector to spread the virus worldwide, the researchers noted.

The only other animal known to transmit SARS-CoV-2 back to humans was in the case of minks, which resulted in a mass culling of mink farms around the world, especially in Denmark.

Besides hamsters, the novel coronavirus has been seen in many other animals after having been spread to them by humans. This includes cats, dogs, otters, minks, mice, deer, gorillas, ferrets, and pigs.

However, these animals may often deal with the virus differently. Cats, for example, were noted by some as having recovered from Covid-19 very quickly. Deer were shown to be able to spread it to one another, but they showed no symptoms. Pigs, while they are shown to catch coronavirus, not only do never show symptoms, they also never spread it to others, the report said.

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