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USDA Announcement

WASHINGTON, Nov. 1, 2022 -- The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is making $30 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding available to address SARS-CoV-2 in animals and advance the Nation’s ability to protect the health of humans and animals. This funding opportunity is part of APHIS’ multipronged approach under its American Rescue Plan Strategic Framework, to build an early warning system to potentially prevent or limit the next zoonotic disease outbreak or global pandemic.

There was a fantastic segment on 60 minutes yesterday about surveillance that is being done in Africa. The program is combined program with UC Davis and doctors from Africa. They are collecting samples from bats, primates and people looking for the next potential viral pathogen.

Searching for the next pandemic
Doug & Sandy
Winnie 6 1/2 year old golden
2008 Southwind 2009 Honda CRV

Wildlife exposure to SARS-CoV-2 across a human use gradient
BioRxiv preprint 7Nov2022

The spillover of SARS-CoV-2 into humans has caused one of the most devastating pandemics in
recorded history. Human-animal interactions have led to transmission events of SARS-CoV-2
from humans to wild and captive animals. However, many questions remain about how extensive
SARS-CoV-2 exposure is in wildlife, the factors that influence wildlife transmission risk, and
whether sylvatic cycles can generate novel variants with increased infectivity and virulence. We
sampled 18 different wildlife species in the Eastern U.S. and detected widespread exposure to
SARS-CoV-2 across wildlife species. Using quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain
reaction and whole genome sequencing, we conclusively detected SARS-CoV-2 in the Virginia
opossum and had equivocal detections in six additional species. Species considered human
commensals like squirrels, and raccoons had high seroprevalence, ranging between 62%-71%,
and sites with high human use had three times higher seroprevalence than low human-use areas.
SARS-CoV-2 genomic data from an infected opossum and molecular modeling exposed
previously uncharacterized changes to amino acid residues observed in the receptor binding
domain (RBD), which predicts improved binding between the spike protein and human
angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE2) compared to the dominant variant circulating at the time
of isolation. These mutations were not identified in human samples at the time of collection.
Overall, our results highlight widespread exposure to SARS-CoV-2 in wildlife and suggest that
areas with high human activity may serve as important points of contact for cross-species
transmission. Furthermore, this work highlights the potential role of wildlife in fueling de novo
mutations that may eventually appear in humans.

Selected parts of the Discussion
Our combined results suggest that a high diversity of species are exposed to SARS-CoV2 in the wild. Prevalence of active infections among wildlife was generally low and ranged from
1.6-20.0%. We found that 7.8% of opossums, a marsupial, were positive (including equivocal
detections), similar to white-tailed deer (10.0%).

The Eastern gray squirrel also had detections on both RT-qPCR (1.6%) and using
serological tests (71.4%). Several other species that were examined for antibodies to SARSCoV-2 suggested high levels of previous exposure, including raccoons (64%) and skunks (67%).

SARS-CoV-2 is being transmitted from humans to wildlife; there was greater rates of transmission in locations where there are more humans. Omicron variants of SARS-CoV-2 were detected in an opossum before those variants were detected in the local human population. Either the mutations developed in the opossum, or the opossum was infected from humans with this variant (and then sampled) before human sampling detected the new variant. Inadequate variant sampling of humans or human to opossum transmission followed by mutation within the opossum and then transmission back to humans.
Mark & Renee
Working Border Collies: Nell (retired), Tally (retired), Grant (semi retired), Lee, Fern & Hattie
Duke & Penny (Anatolians) home guarding the flock
2001 Chevy Express 2500 Cargo (rolling kennel)
2007 Nash 22M

Explorer II
Explorer II
Deb and Ed M wrote:
Awesome - and maybe next time, people will take the idea of a pandemic more seriously?

Doubtful. The government at all levels regardless of party got so many things wrong, contradicting information, and lockdown mandates that killed businesses and jobs, hurt our children’s health and education. People will be very wary of what they are told by politicians agencies.
Tom Wilds
Blythewood, SC
2016 Newmar Baystar Sport 3004
2015 Jeep Wrangler 2dr HT

Awesome - and maybe next time, people will take the idea of a pandemic more seriously?
Ed, Deb, and 2 dogs
Looking for a small Class C!

Explorer II
Explorer II
Proactive! Excellent.
Winnebago 2101DS TT & 2022 Chevy Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71, WindyNation 300 watt solar-Lossigy 200 AH Lithium battery. Prefer boondocking, USFS, COE, BLM, NPS, TVA, state camps. Bicyclist. 14 yr. Army -11B40 then 11A - (MOS 1542 & 1560) IOBC & IOAC grad