Eight Asiatic lions at the Nehru Zoological park in Hyderabad, which were infected with the novel coronavirus, have recovered and are now considered negative for the virus. Zoo officials told TNM that the lions are being considered negative for coronavirus as per COVID-19 protocol, as the infection was detected more than 14 days ago. As earlier reported by the TNM on May 4, the lions had tested positive and had symptoms such as dry cough, nasal discharge and lack of appetite. However, zoo officials confirmed that all the symptoms have subsided as the lions were on medication for almost two weeks.
Speaking to the News Minute, Dr Hakeem from zoological park said, “The lions are considered negative as per protocol. They are not showing any symptoms after two weeks of treatment." He further added that lions were initially given medicines for 7 days and had recovered by then itself. However, in order to be on the safe side, the zoo has continued the treatment for five more days.
The big cats are now being given B-Complex and multivitamin tablets for support . These lions testing positive was the first such case reported in the country. However, the source of their infection is still unknown.
Earlier, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) officials told TNM that the samples were collected from the lions using RT PCR tests, just like in humans. The samples, which were sequenced by CCMB, were found to belong to the A2a variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and not one of the worrying variants found more recently during the second wave of COVID-19 in India. The A2a variant is one of the most common variants seen among humans during the first wave of COVID-19 in India.
The zoo has remained closed to the public since May 2 after an advisory from the Ministry of Environment Forests and Climate Change, New Delhi to close all zoological parks, national parks, tiger reserves and wildlife sanctuaries for visitors, as earlier reported by TNM.