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Pangolins confiscated from unlawful wildlife commerce in Viet Nam host SARS-CoV-2 associated coronaviruses

A brand new examine within the journal Frontiers in Public Well being led by scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) confirms that pangolins confiscated from the unlawful wildlife commerce in Viet Nam host SARS-CoV-2 associated coronaviruses. Beforehand, solely pangolins confiscated in China had examined constructive for SARS-CoV-2 associated coronaviruses.

The authors of the examine say that the findings are additional proof that the transnational nature of the wildlife commerce can facilitate coronavirus and different viral transmission and amplification alongside the commerce chain, offering additional proof that pandemic and epidemic prevention should even be centered on pathogen spillover from wildlife.

The examine detected SARS-CoV-2 associated coronaviruses, circulating in Sunda pangolins (Manis javanica) confiscated from the unlawful wildlife commerce in Viet Nam. Evaluation revealed that the coronaviruses recognized in these pangolins had been intently associated to coronaviruses beforehand detected in pangolins confiscated from the unlawful wildlife commerce in Yunnan and Guangxi provinces, China.

We all know that SARS-like coronaviruses (SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV-1) may cause critical illness in people. This examine confirms the presence of coronaviruses within the SARS-CoV household in trafficked pangolins in Viet Nam. Eliminating the commerce in pangolins and different wild mammals and birds will remove this high-risk pathway for viral spillover and pathogen emergence.”

Nguyen Thi Thanh Nga, examine’s lead writer, WCS’s Viet Nam Program

All eight species of pangolins have been listed on CITES Appendix I since 2017, prohibiting all worldwide commerce for business functions. All 4 species of Asian pangolins, together with the Sunda and Chinese language pangolin (Manis pentadactyla) are thought of Endangered or Critically Endangered throughout their geographic vary.

The authors of the examine examined specimens from a complete of 246 pangolins from wildlife confiscation occasions that occurred in Viet Nam within the years 2016 to 2018. Specimens collected from seven particular person pangolins in 2018 examined constructive for a SARS-CoV-2 associated coronavirus.

Along with testing pangolins for SARS-CoV-2 associated coronaviruses, the authors reviewed media experiences of pangolin trafficking instances involving Viet Nam between 2016 and 2020. A number of pangolin confiscation occasions sampled on this examine in Viet Nam concerned different reside wildlife together with a mixture of non-human primates, reptiles, and birds. These observations assist long-held issues that the reside wildlife commerce, shifting wild animals out of their pure habitats and into human dominated landscapes and huge city facilities, poses a critical and rising danger of initiating epidemics from emergent pathogens in human populations.

These findings assist present suggestions on regulation of reside wildlife commerce and markets, together with the April 2021 Interim Steerage on ‘Decreasing public well being dangers related to the sale of reside wild animals of mammalian species in conventional meals markets’ issued by the WHO, United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), and the Worldwide Organisation for Animal Well being (OIE), which referred to as on governments to “Droop the commerce in reside caught wild animals of mammalian species for meals or breeding functions and shut sections of meals markets promoting reside caught wild animals of mammalian species as an emergency measure until demonstrable efficient rules and ample danger assessments are in place.”

The authors additionally point out that present worldwide suggestions are too narrowly centered on open markets and don’t tackle the for much longer wildlife provide chains, commerce of each legally and illegally sourced wildlife from its supply. The authors point out the necessity for wildlife commerce coverage reform to curb the dangers of future pandemics and say mitigation measures should contemplate that the wildlife commerce spillover interface incorporates novel viruses, which aren’t detected with present pattern screening practices or procedures.

Amongst nations, China has initiated a multi-sectoral and sustained crackdown on unlawful wildlife commerce and legislative reforms designed to utterly section out the farming/sourcing, commerce, and consumption of terrestrial wildlife as meals. Viet Nam banned the importation of wildlife in January 2020, as a direct response to the identification of SARS-CoV-2 in China, and referred to as for its personal heightened enforcement of present legal guidelines on unlawful wildlife commerce as stipulated within the July 2020 Vietnamese Authorities Prime Minister’s Directive No. 29 on “pressing options to handle wildlife”. Up to now two years, the Authorities of Viet Nam has revised quite a few decrees addressing animal well being, public well being, meals security, and wildlife administration with the intention of mitigating the dangers and impacts of future pandemics. These embrace Decree 14 on regulating penalties for administrative offenses involving animal husbandry and Decree 07 issued in early 2022 which elevated sanctions for violating wildlife commerce legal guidelines and rules.

WCS labored intently with native companions in Viet Nam to hold out this analysis.


Journal reference:

Nga, N.T.T., et al. (2022) Proof of SARS-CoV-2 associated coronaviruses circulating in Sunda pangolins (Manis javanica) confiscated from the unlawful wildlife commerce in Viet Nam. Frontiers in Public Well being.


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