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8 Asiatic lions recover from Covid at Hyderabad zoo

Hyderabad: Eight Asiatic lions at Hyderabad’s Nehru Zoological Park (NZP), which tested positive for Sars-Cov-2 (Covid-19) in the last week of April, have now completely recovered from the infection, zoo officials said on Thursday
PUBLISHED ON MAY 28, 2021 12:36 AM IST

Hyderabad: Eight Asiatic lions at Hyderabad’s Nehru Zoological Park (NZP), which tested positive for Sars-Cov-2 (Covid-19) in the last week of April, have now completely recovered from the infection, zoo officials said on Thursday.

NZP curator V V L Subhadra Devi confirmed to HT that all the eight lions tested negative for the virus and were completely cured. The lions are now back in their enclosures in the zoo park.

On April 24, the zoo authorities noticed that these eight lions were suffering from mild respiratory distress. Based on the guidelines of the Central Zoo Authority, their nasal and oral discharge samples were collected and sent to the laboratory for Conservation of Endangered Species at CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (LaCONES-CCMB).

“The samples were tested using RT-PCR, and were found positive for coronavirus. The CCMB analysed the genomes of coronavirus samples from these lions, and did not find those to be a variant of concern. The source of infection has not been found yet,” a CCMB spokesman said.

Soon after they tested positive, the lions were isolated from other animals and kept under due care and necessary treatment. “They responded well to the treatment and showed signs of recovery,” a zoo official said.

After two weeks of treatment, no symptoms of the virus was found in them. Yet, the authorities continued to keep them in isolation for a couple of weeks more, before testing them for the virus, which came negative.

The zoo has been closed for public since May 2, following an advisory from the ministry of environment forests and climate change, New Delhi.

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