BREAKING! COVID-19 News: Study Reports First Molecular Detection Of SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus In Cockroaches With Worrisome Implications!
: While governments and health authorities around the world are trying to conceal the true impact of the COVID-19 disease on human health especially the long term debilitating effects it can bring about and its role in decreasing the life spans of billions who have survived SARS-CoV-2 infections and reinfections, many are unaware that we are at the most critical phase of the pandemic despite misleading claims and fallacies that we are entering an endemic phase or that the newer emerging sub-lineages are milder or that we have to learn to live with the virus or that herd immunity or combined natural and vaccine -induced immunity will save mankind!
With now more than 800 different types of SARS-CoV-2 variants, subvariants, sub-lineages and recombinant variants in circulation and with millions getting infected, reinfected or coinfected and due to viral persistence, we have millions more of human reservoirs walking around each day, not to forget that the new Omicron sub-lineages are now better at infecting various other animal species and the risk of reverse zoonotic infections are high, the probability of newer more pathogenic and lethal variants remains very high!
Already new studies are indicating that even the Omicron variant that has the highest immune evasive and transmissible rates probably emerged from an animal source that was infected with the earlier strains of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
In our past COVID-19 News
coverage, we already covered that Omicron could have originated from an infected mouse!
In the beginning of the pandemic, it was assumed that the SARS-CoV-2 could not infect insects including mosquitoes, houseflies and cockroaches.
However, an American study in early 2021 showed that houseflies could be vectors of the SARS-CoV-2 virus!
Now, alarmingly a new study involving molecular detection has found that cockroaches could also be vectors of the newer SARS-CoV-2 sub-lineages and that SARS-CoV-2 could also be insect borne! The dicovery of SARS-CoV-2 in cockroaches also has alarming implications about the high possibility of new more worrisome recombinant or reassortant SARS-CoV-2
variants ultimately emerging!
Researchers from the Research Center for Health Sciences, Institute of Health, Department of Medical Entomology and Vector Control, School of Health, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences-Iran and the Jahrom University of Medical Sciences-Iran have reported the first molecular detection of SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus in cockroaches with worrisome implications!
The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is one of the main pathogens that primarily targets the human respiratory system. There are several ways to transmit this virus, such as direct contact or droplets spread by coughing or sneezing, and direct contact with fomites and surfaces is another way.
This new cross-sectional study was conducted in Shiraz, southern Iran, in 5 locations, including 3 hospitals and 2 dormitories.
The cockroaches were collected from selected locations and transferred to the Laboratory of Medical Entomology at Shiraz University of Medical Sciences. All specimens were identified morphologically.
The external and gastrointestinal washouts of collected samples with sterile phosphate-buffered saline separately were used for molecular analysis.
An RT-qPCR assay, which suggests the possible insect‑borne transmission, was used. External and gastrointestinal washout of B. germanica from Dastgheyb Dormitory and P. americana from Ali-Asghar Hospital were positive for contamination with the SARS-CoV-2.
The study findings show that cockroaches could spread the virus in the environment and contaminate human food and various surfaces of buildings.
Disturbingly, their role will be more important in crowded places such as hotels, lodging houses, restaurants, and hospitals; vector control programs should be carried out with more accuracy in such places.
The study findings were published in the peer reviewed journal: Biologia (Springer).
Cockroaches are among the most prevalent insects globally, and they are cosmopolitan; due to their gregarious nature and synanthropic preferences, cockroaches are commonly found in or near human dwellings. They are also indiscriminate feeders that disseminate microbial pathogens from waste-contaminated breeding habitats to human foods, which human hosts may ingest.
The SARS-CoV-2 infection causes intense gastrointestinal infection in some individuals, and the virus is detected in their feces. The viability of the virus has been reported for up to 72 h on some surfaces and feces and urine. Feces can be considered an essential source of SARS-COV-2 infection. Therefore, all organisms that contact it or eat it could be associated with SARS-CoV-2 transmission. Thus, the role of insects such as houseflies and cockroaches in SARS-CoV-2 infections could be essential.
It seems that the SARS-CoV-2 virus can live on cockroaches because of their habitat condition. They usually live in highly humid places. The role of these insects in the spread of SARS-CoV-2 will be more important in crowded places such as hotels, lodging houses, restaurants, and hospitals.
In order to mechanically transmit the virus, cockroaches must first obtain the virus from the contaminated source, ingest a sufficient amount of the virus, and colonize it on the crop, gut, or body surface. Each virus needs to be stable and viable during this period.
The study findings show that cockroaches can acquire, and contaminate the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the environment.
Worryingly, transmission of the virus by cockroaches can make the epidemiology of the disease very difficult; therefore, the role of vector control, along with methods of prevention and control of other diseases, becomes essential.
As a sense of urgency, healthcare professionals should plan and implement Integrated Vector Management (IVM) programs in high-risk areas during the warmer months of temperate regions and every month of the year in tropical areas where the population and activity of these insects increase.
More detailed in vivo laboratory and field studies are needed to investigate the exact role these insects play in the circulation of this deadly universal virus.
Importantly, the presence of Covid-19 in cockroaches can be very important, opening new frontiers to investigate the environmental diffusion of air, particulate matter, water and sewers as it is reported from other insects such as honey bees and house flies.
Urgent monitoring of the presence of the SARS-COV-2 virus in insects can help the determination of the epidemiological extent of the disease in the community.
New detailed studies are also urgently required to assess if mosquitoes can also transmit the virus.
The COVID-19 crisis is evolving into a nightmare that has never been seen in the history of mankind and in such states of an hyperendemic crisis, the worst can be expected.
While recent research has only focused on SARS-CoV-2 infections in other mammals, urgent new research is warranted in the insect kingdom as there are so many possible worrisome implications at stake!
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