This pandemic is the first time many people have heard of the coronavirus. However, "in animal health, the coronavirus family is an old acquaintance," said Drs. Ursula Höfle and Christian Gortázar from the University of Castilla-La Mancha, in Spain.
Coronaviruses are classified into alpha, beta, gamma and delta. They are responsible for respiratory, enteric, neurological, renal and hepatic diseases. The avian infectious bronchitis coronavirus is a Gammacoronavirus, which does not infect humans. COVID-19 is a Betacoronavirus.
These viruses exist in humans and animals, but it is precisely due to this that the American Association of Avian Pathologists (AAAP) and the University of Georgia, through virologist Dr. Mark W. Jackwood, released a joint statement that, in addition to appearing to me very pertinent, makes things crystal clear.
I highlight here some points that we must communicate and that also make our poultry industry a champion:
- The poultry industry and its professionals have extensive experience in infectious bronchitis coronavirus. It would be wise to take advantage of this expertise.
- COVID-19 is not proven to affect birds and is unlikely to do so. So, poultry does not appear to be at risk.
- Commercial poultry and its products (meat, eggs, and value-added products) are not a source of coronavirus.
The high level of spreading of coronaviruses further highlights biosecurity, disinfection and cleaning, and health surveillance.
To combat it, it is important to know that the envelope of coronaviruses is susceptible to soap and common disinfectants. But the production of vaccines is complicated, due to the difficulty of attenuating these viruses, in addition to the fact that recombinant vaccines do not give the expected results either. However, as Jackwood rightly said, birds are not the same as humans, so more research needs to be done to get a vaccine that works. Meanwhile, let’s keep on producing chicken and eggs.
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