Four lions at Chennai’s Arignar Anna Zoological Park found infected with delta variant of COVID-19

Lions at the famous 'Arignar Anna Zoological Park' at Vandalur, in Chennai.
Lions at the famous ‘Arignar Anna Zoological Park’ at Vandalur, in Chennai. Image Credit: PTI

Chennai: The Genome sequencing analysis of four samples taken from lions at the Arignar Anna Zoological Park in Vandalur revealed that they were all affected by the delta (B.1.617.2) variant of COVID-19.

“Genome sequencing of 4 of the samples was done at NIHSAD, Bhopal. Analysis of the sequences shows that all the 4 sequences belong to Pangolin lineage B.1.617.2 and are Delta variants as per WHO nomenclature,” an official from the release Arignar Anna Zoological Park read.

Arignar Anna Zoological Park had sent samples of 11 lions housed in the park for testing for SARS CoV-2 on 24-05-2021 (4 lions) and 29-05-2021(7 lions) to the ICAR-National Institute of High-Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD), Bhopal.

As per the report communicated on June 3 by NIHSAD, Bhopal, the samples of 9 lions had tested positive for SARS CoV-2 and the animals have been under active treatment since then.

The park authorities had requested the Institute to share the results of genome sequencing of the SARS CoV-2 virus that has infected the lions.

On May 11, 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified B.1.617.2 lineage as a variant of concern (VOC) and said that it showed evidence of higher transmissibility and reduced neutralisation.