Confiscated pangolins test positive for SARS-CoV-2

Pangolins confiscated in Vietnam as part of illegal trade tested positive for a coronavirus. Credit: Wildlife Conservation Society

Pangolins confiscated from the illegal wildlife trade in Vietnam have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 in humans. In a new study published in Frontiers in Public Health, researchers found that Sunda pangolins (Manis javanica), one of eight pangolin species listed on CITES Appendix I since 2017 as trade-prohibited, carried a coronavirus closely related to others previously confiscated in parts of China. The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists the Sunda pangolin as critically endangered. The authors of the study said the finding shows that live wildlife trade could be contributing to the risk of coronavirus transmission, and even the potential amplification of coronaviruses along the supply chain. “Eliminating the trade in pangolins and other wild mammals and birds will eliminate this high-risk pathway for viral spillover and pathogen emergence,” said the study’s lead author Nguyen Thi Thanh Nga of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Vietnam program, in a press release.

Read more at the Wildlife Conservation Society, and find the study at Frontiers in Public Health.