MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV infections in animals: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prevalence studies.Infez Med. 2020 Jun 01; 28(suppl 1):71-83.IM
Coronaviruses are zoonotic viruses that include human epidemic pathogens such as the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome virus (MERS-CoV), and the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome virus (SARS-CoV), among others (e.g., COVID-19, the recently emerging coronavirus disease). The role of animals as potential reservoirs for such pathogens remains an unanswered question. No systematic reviews have been published on this topic to date.
We performed a systematic literature review with meta-analysis, using three databases to assess MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV infection in animals and its diagnosis by serological and molecular tests. We performed a random-effects model meta-analysis to calculate the pooled prevalence and 95% confidence interval (95%CI).
6,493articles were retrieved (1960-2019). After screening by abstract/title, 50 articles were selected for full-text assessment. Of them, 42 were finally included for qualitative and quantitative analyses. From a total of 34 studies (n=20,896 animals), the pool prevalence by RT-PCR for MERS-CoV was 7.2% (95%CI 5.6-8.7%), with 97.3% occurring in camels, in which pool prevalence was 10.3% (95%CI 8.3-12.3). Qatar was the country with the highest MERS-CoV RT-PCR pool prevalence: 32.6% (95%CI 4.8-60.4%). From 5 studies and 2,618 animals, for SARS-CoV, the RT-PCR pool prevalence was 2.3% (95%CI 1.3-3.3). Of those, 38.35% were reported on bats, in which the pool prevalence was 14.1% (95%CI0.0-44.6%).
A considerable proportion of infected animals tested positive, particularly by nucleic acid amplification tests (NAAT). This essential condition highlights the relevance of individual animals as reservoirs of MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV. In this meta-analysis, camels and bats were found to be positive by RT-PCR in over 10% of the cases for both; thus, suggesting their relevance in the maintenance of wild zoonotic transmission.