Two gorillas at San Diego Zoo in California have tested positive for COVID-19, in the first reported cases of great apes contracting the novel coronavirus. Three of the primates showed symptoms as of this week, and zoo authorities have not ruled out other troop members also being infected. Since the pandemic broke out last year, there have been concerns about how the virus might impact great apes; certain viral diseases, including respiratory ones, are known to be transmissible between humans and great apes, which are our closest relatives and some of the world’s most threatened mammals. “Despite all our efforts and dedication from our team members to protect the wildlife in our care, our gorilla troop has tested positive for SARS-CoV-2,” Lisa Peterson, executive director of the zoo, said in a statement. The gorillas at the zoo exhibited mild symptoms of the diseases, with congestion and coughing, but the true extent to which the disease might impact them is unknown. “I am actually surprised it did not happen earlier given how often the virus makes it into other well protected areas such as old people homes,” said Fabian Leendertz, a primate infectious disease ecologist at the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin in an emailed response. “Now it is important to see how severe the disease gets and how it spreads BUT even if the disease remains rather mild, this does NOT mean that it will be the same for wild great apes since here many other factors are present which…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer