Guwahati: The Forrest department of Odisha has decided to conduct a COVID-19 test on a pangolin that was rescued from a quarantine centre in the Cuttack district on May 26. Swab samples of the pangolin were collected for this test.
Following a tip-off from a village head, personnel’s from the Athagarh forest division of Cuttack, rescued the pangolin from a quarantine centre at a school in Mahulia. The female pangolin is five-years-old. Bhubaneswar’s Centre for Wildlife Health was contacted to facilitate the process. However, as to how the pangolin made its way to the quarantine is still a mystery.
This would be the first time that swab samples of the pangolin were sent for coronavirus testing from the state of Odisha. Additionally, Athgarh Divisional Forrest Officer (DFO) Sasmita Lenka was also asked to do a test for COVID-19 as she was in contact with the pangolin.
This decision to test the female pangolin for coronavirus comes at a time when many researchers and scientists suspect that pangolins could be Sars-CoV-2 carriers. Sars-CoV-2 is the virus which causes COVID-19.
Additionally, researchers from the College of Veterinary Medicine, South China Agricultural University, suggested in a recent study that the Sars-CoV-2 may have begun from the recombination of coronaviruses in pangolins and bats.
The study stated that pangolins and bats which are both nocturnal creatures dine on insects, and often share overlapping ecological niches which make pangolins the perfect intermediate host for some Sars-related coronaviruses. This paper was also published in the journal Nature.