A few quick updates on some recent SARS-CoV-2-related stories.
This case, a pug in North Carolina that had an oral swab that supposedly tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 as part of a Duke University household surveillance study, was reported a few weeks ago. It was strange that there was no confirmation of the test result since then. Now we know why. It appears the original test result was actually “inconclusive” (i.e. not strong enough to be truly considered positive). Follow up PCR testing was negative. That in itself doesn’t mean the dog wasn’t infected, since it could have been a short term infection that wasn’t sampled during peak shedding. However, no antibodies were detected in the dog. That indicates the immune system didn’t recognize the presence of the virus. It’s not completely definitive, but supports this not being a true infection. Perhaps transient contamination of the dog’s mouth with virus from its infected owners could have caused the original inconclusive test result.
This topic is a bit outside the animal health-related area, but is still interesting (and relates to some of my recent Twitter ranting about the state of scientific publication). The high profile Lancet paper that reported increased deaths associated with hydoxychloroquine use in COVID-19 patients, and led to WHO suspending that arm of its study, has been challenged because of numerous concerns about data and data availability. It doesn’t mean the results are necessarily wrong, but questions about the data mean that things need to be clarified, which the authors have apparently been reluctant to do so far. An open letter to the journal outlines various problems with the report and has a large and reputable list of signatories.
There’s not really anything notable here in the big picture, but anyone with an inclination towards whole genome sequencing data might be interested in the sequence results from the virus isolated from one of the Bronx Zoo tigers.
Just one more report of a cat with SARS-CoV-2 infection, presumably from its infected owner. Not surprising.