Submitted to: Emerging Infectious Diseases
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/2/2020
Publication Date: 12/1/2020
Citation: Suarez, D.L., Pantin Jackwood, M.J., Swayne, D.E., Lee, S.A., Deblois, S.M., Spackman, E. 2021. Lack of susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 and MERS-CoV in poultry. Emerging Infectious Diseases. 26(12)3074-3076. https://doi.org/10.3201/eid2612.202989.
Interpretive Summary: SARS-CoV-2 is a new virus that was first seen in humans in December 2019. The virus rapidly spread around the world, causing a pandemic. A second coronavirus, MERS-COV, emerged in humans in 2013 and although cases are fairly rare, still infects people. The source of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is unknown but is expected to be an animal. It has not been determined whether poultry can carry MERS-COV either. To determine if birds can carry the virus 5 common poultry species were tested for their ability to become infected. Chickens, turkeys, ducks, quail and geese were not able to become infected with either virus. Similarly, chickens eggs are commonly used to grow viruses for vaccine antigen. Both viruses were tested for their ability to grow in chicken eggs, and neither virus could, ruling out their use to make vaccines.
Technical Abstract: We challenged chickens, turkeys, ducks, quail, and geese with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 or Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus. We observed no disease and detected no virus replication and no serum antibodies. We concluded that poultry are unlikely to serve a role in maintenance of either virus.