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TGen collaborates with wildlife officials to test for COVID-19 in both wild and zoo animals

A new study suggests that the white-tailed deer, pictured above, could carry SARS-CoV-2 indefinitely and spread it back to humans periodically.
Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images
A new study suggests that the white-tailed deer, pictured above, could carry SARS-CoV-2 indefinitely and spread it back to humans periodically.

A new program will test wild animals and zoo animals statewide for the coronavirus.

The Translational Genomics Research Institute, or TGen, has already begun testing captive and wild animals for COVID-19. They’re working in partnership with the Arizona Game and Fish Department, the Department of Agriculture and zoo vets across Arizona.

On Monday, May 16, 2022, TGen researchers said they have not yet seen any positive cases and that there isn’t much evidence so far to suggest COVID-19 can easily spread from animals to humans. That’s according to a report by AZ Family.

However, surveillance can help monitor for future outbreaks and other zoonotic diseases, as well.

Wild animals being tested include, elk, deer, mountain lions, coyotes, and javelinas. Zoo animals include elephants and lions.

The coronavirus has been known to infect mammals including big cats, otters, hippos, non-human primates and ferrets.