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Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture
USDA FAQ's and resources about coronavirus (COVID-19).  LEARN MORE

Zoo and Aquarium SARS-CoV-2 Serology Study

photo of a snow leopard

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is seeking zoos, aquariums, and wildlife facilities to participate in an important SARS-CoV-2 Serology Study to identify animal species that may be susceptible to the virus. We will also assess the effectiveness of current biosecurity practices in mitigating SARS-CoV-2 spread and examine the role peridomestic wildlife may play. With your help, we will:

  • Further identify species at risk of SARS-CoV-2
  • Determine which species to prioritize for vaccination
  • Further investigate antibody responses to vaccination
  • Develop SARS-CoV-2 mitigation strategies and biosecurity practices

To find out more about the study or to participate, contact Jeremy Ellis (Jeremy.W.Ellis@usda.gov) or Susan Shriner (Susan.A.Shriner@usda.gov) no later than February 18, 2022. If you've already contacted us, you do not have to contact us again. We will let you know by March 1, 2022, whether you were selected to participate in the study.

Study Components

Serology Sample Collection

  • Accepting samples from all mammalian species taken prior to March 2020, during pandemic, and if possible, after vaccination
  • Requesting only 100-200uL of blood (willing to accept as little as 30uL)
  • Serum, plasma, whole blood, blood spots/Nobuto strips accepted

Biosecurity Assessments

  • Surveys conducted by APHIS staff (2 people)*
  • Onsite assessments
  • Use of a standardized tool to identify best practices

Peridomestic Wildlife Sampling

  • Live animal trapping (rodents, skunks, foxes, opossums, etc.) onsite by APHIS staff*
  • Camera trapping where possible
  • Will look at infection as well as exposure

* APHIS staff will comply with all facility requirements (i.e., vaccinations, personal protective equipment, timing, protocols, etc.)

What You Need to Know

  • We welcome all zoos, aquariums, and wildlife facilities to apply
  • Participation is 100% voluntary
  • We will notify selected facilities by March 1, 2021
  • There will be NO regulatory action for any biosecurity issues noted during surveys
  • Participants will have the opportunity to collaborate on ongoing projects
  • We will not share your institution’s results with anyone but you
  • We will publish a summary report at the end of the study

Questions?

To find out more about the study or to participate, contact Jeremy Ellis (Jeremy.W.Ellis@usda.gov) or Susan Shriner (Susan.A.Shriner@usda.gov) no later than February 18, 2022.

If you've already contacted us, you do not have to contact us again. We will let you know by March 1, 2022 whether you were selected to participate in the study.

Watch the Zoo and Aquarium Serology Study webinar recording.


USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.

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