India: second lion dies of #coronavirus at Vandalur Zoo near Chennai

A 12-year-old Asiatic lion, Pathmanathan, has died from Covid-19 in Arignar Anna Zoological Park, popularly known as Vandalur Zoo, outside Chennai on Wednesday morning, a statement from the zoo authority said. This is the second coronavirus-related death reported from the zoo after nine-year-old lioness Neela, who succumbed to the infection on June 3.

Pathbanathan, who was housed in the safari area, passed away at 10:15 am as per the official release by the zoo.

“The samples of the said lion had tested Positive for SARS-CoV-2 as per the report of National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD), Bhopal communicated on the 3rd June 2021. The lion was under intensive treatment since then,” the press release said.

A couple of days ago, the park officials said three lions infected with the virus were responding slowly to treatment and efforts were on to help them recuperate.

Hindustan Times report


India: Neela the lioness dies of #coronavirus infection at Vandalur zoo – UPDATED

UK: Delta with K417N – the “mountaineers” variant – PHE #coronavirus Delta-AY.1 update

Of the 36 cases of Delta-AY.1 (mountaineers) variant, 27 cases were known to have a vaccination status within the National Immunisation Management System (NIMS). 

“Through routine scanning of variation in Delta a small number of sequences were detected which had acquired the spike protein mutation K417N. Information suggests that there are at least 2 separate clades of Delta with K417N. One clade is large and internationally distributed with PANGO lineage designation AY.1. A second clade found in sequences uploaded to GISAID from the USA. There is limited epidemiological information available at present.

International Epidemiology
As of 7 June 2021, 63 genomes of Delta with K417N have been identified on GISAID. from Canada (1) Germany (1), Russia (1), Nepal (2), Switzerland (4), India (6), Poland (9), Portugal (12), Japan (13), USA (14).

There are currently 36 cases of Delta-AY.1 in England (35 confirmed sequencing and 1 probable genotyping) plus an additional 10 sequences which include some cases in other UK nations and some genomes for which case data is being sought. The first 5 cases were sequenced on 26 April 2021 and were contacts of travellers to Nepal and Turkey. All these cases were detected in the West Midlands. Cases have been detected in 6 different regions in England (Table 21, Figure 26). The majority of cases are in younger individuals, with 2 cases of age 60 or over (Figure 27). Out of the 36 cases, there were 11 travel associated cases (6 travellers and 5 cases amongst contacts of travellers). Twelve cases have no history of travel or contact with travellers. Countries of travel included red-list countries (Nepal and Turkey), amber-list countries (Malaysia) and green-list countries (Singapore).

Of the 36 cases, 27 cases were known to have a vaccination status within the National Immunisation Management System (NIMS), when linked on NHS number. Of these, 18 cases occurred in people who were not vaccinated, 2 cases in people who had received their first dose within 21 days of specimen date, 5 cases in people who had received their  first dose more than 21 days after specimen date. There was a total of 2 cases where there were more than 14 days between the second dose of vaccine and a positive specimen. No deaths have been recorded amongst the 36 cases.”

PHE download – SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern and variants under investigation in England  – Technical briefing 15 (PDF)


UK: The “mountaineers variant” – B.1.617.2 with K417N mutation


UK: “Everest climbers could have spread potentially more infectious and vaccine resistant’ variant



Image by Simon from Pixabay

India: lions at Vandalur Zoo test positive for #coronavirus and canine distemper virus

Out of seven samples (four tiger and 3 lions) sent to ICAR-Indian Veterinary Research Institute (ICAR-IVRI) in Izatnagar, Bareilly, in Uttar Pradesh, one lioness tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 and distemper virus, another lioness for SARS-CoV-2, and a lion tested positive for distemper virus,”  said IVRI Joint Director K P Singh said.

The New Indian Express had already reported that two lionesses — Kavitha and Bhuvana, aged 23 and 19 years respectively — are in critical condition. 

New Indian Express report


India: Neela the lioness dies of #coronavirus infection at Vandalur zoo – UPDATED




Image by Fabio Grandis from Pixabay

India: Shi Zhengli, October 2019 – Filovirus antibodies in humans and bats imply zoonotic spillover

India, October 2019, Zhengli Shi et al: “We present evidence for prior exposure of bat harvesters and two resident fruit bat species to filovirus surface glycoproteins… Our results indicate circulation of several filoviruses in bats and the possibility for filovirus transmission from bats to humans.

Research Article: Filovirus-reactive antibodies in humans and bats in Northeast India imply zoonotic spillover

… Shi’s a busy lady…


India: 1.6% #coronavirus vaccine breakthrough rate in study of healthcare workers

India’s largest yet data analysis of the so-called breakthrough infections after inoculation with Covishield [AstraZeneca] has found that 16 in every 1,000 fully vaccinated healthcare workers developed Covid-19 infections, about threefold the incidence observed in a US study after Pfizer or Moderna doses.

A team of doctors at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, has documented 48 Covid-19 infections among 3,000 healthcare workers who had completed two weeks after both doses of Covishield before they tested Covid-positive.

“The incidence of breakthrough infection was 1.6 per cent, the median time from receipt of the second dose to the breakthrough infection was 29.5 days,” Venkatamaha Laksmi Pinnaka and his colleagues at PGIMER wrote in their report in The New England Journal of Medicine. report


Finland: 80% vaccine breakthrough in hospital with B16172 Delta #coronavirus variant – PPE no longer effective



Photo by Mufid Majnun on Unsplash

Indian scientists explored the “unconventional evolution” of Sars-CoV-2 in January 2020

“One of such studies that was brought to the notice of Fauci was a research paper by some scientists from India. In January 2020, Indian researchers had published a paper, where they had found that the spike glycoprotein (S) of SARS-CoV-2 had four insertions which are not found in any other Coronavirus, and the insertions are similar to those found in HIV virus. The study had raised that possibility that SARS-CoV-2 may have been bio-engineered using the existing Coronavirus and HIV virus.” news report

Preprint: Uncanny similarity of unique inserts in the 2019-nCoV spike protein to HIV-1 gp120 and Gag


** UPDATE 1 **

A day after the authors withdrew the above paper, on 2 February 2020, the director of the Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, Shi Zhengli, and her team, published the sequence of a bat coronavirus called RaTG13 in what was the very first paper to properly describe and characterise what would eventually become known as the SARS-CoV-2 virus. report


** Update 2 **

Indian researcher still backs their study and says they were forced by vested interests to withdraw

OpIndia talked to Ashutosh Kumar Pandey, one of the researchers of the study. Earlier he had commented on Twitter that they stand by their conclusion that the SARS-CoV-2 is not natural. “We said this in Jan 2020, we are saying it again”, he had tweeted. news report

India: zoo worker tests a white tiger for #coronavirus at Ranchi Zoo

All 21 felines in Jharkhand’s Ranchi Zoo – right from 1.3 years tiger cubs to 14-year-old Mallik- are undergoing Covid-19 test to rule out chances of infection in the wake of death of tiger Shiva down with fever for three days, an official said Saturday.

The decision for mandatory Covid test of felines was taken amid coronavirus scare though 10-year-old tiger Shiva, who died Thursday night tested negative in RAT but results of RT-PCR are awaited.

Shiva, suffering from high fever since Tuesday, had left eating and had barely touched the chicken soup it was offered during the sickness before it succumbed to death. report


India: Shiva the tiger dies of suspected #coronavirus infection at Ranchi zoo – 9 other tigers suspected infected

India: Shiva the tiger dies of suspected #coronavirus infection at Ranchi zoo – 9 other tigers suspected infected

A tiger named Shiva, suffering from fever and other Covid-like symptoms, died at Ranchi’s Bhagwan Birsa Munda Biological Park on Thursday night. Doctors at the zoo have sent nasopharyngeal swabs and blood samples of Shiva (a 10-year-old male) for RT-PCR tests to Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh, to confirm if he was infected with coronavirus.

Shiva, one of the 10 tigers at the zoo, had developed fever on May 31. “Though the fever subsided, he had lost appetite over the course of the next two days. He did not eat at all on Thursday and died later in the night,” Dr OP Sahu, the zoo vet, told TOI.

Times of India report



Photo by Sam 🐷 on Unsplash

Preprint: Prevalent evidence of #coronavirus variant B.1.617.2 Delta in post-vaccinated individuals in India

“We sequenced all samples of vaccination-breakthrough cases at NCDC, Delhi, over the period of the study. Two VOC lineages were seen amongst 27 cases: B.1.617.1 (n=2; 8%), B.1.617.2  (n=19; 76%). Other samples had the background B.1 lineages (16%).

It is noted that when compared to population prevalence, B.1.617.2 was over-represented and B.1.1.7 was not even detected in vaccination breakthroughs, suggesting higher breakthrough risk of B.1.617.2 compared to B.1.1.7.”

Preprint: Genomic characterization and Epidemiology of an emerging SARS-CoV-2 variant in Delhi, India


UK: government risk assessment of #coronavirus Delta variant B.1.617.2 – evidence of frequent vaccine failure or decreased effectiveness in humans 


Image by confused_me from Pixabay


India: Neela the lioness dies of #coronavirus infection at Vandalur zoo – UPDATED

A 9-year-old lioness has died of suspected Coronavirus infection at the Arignar Anna Zoological Park in Vandalur, on the outskirts of the Indian city. Nine more lions have also tested positive.

According to a release from the zoo, five lions housed in Animal House 1 of the Safari Park area reported anorexia (loss of appetite) and occasional coughing. The in-house veterinary team took immediate action to investigate and treat the animals as per protocol.

One lioness, (Neela, Female, Age 9 years) housed in Animal House no 2 at the Safari area of the zoo died on June 3, at around 6.15 p.m. The said lioness had been asymptotic and showed some nasal discharge only the day before and had been symptomatically treated immediately.

The Hindu report


India: second lion dies of #coronavirus at Vandalur Zoo near Chennai


** Update 5th June 2021


CDC: possible reverse zoonosis in Michigan mink farm #coronavirus outbreak



Photo by Sneha Cecil on Unsplash

UK: Grant Shapps – “there’s a sort of Nepal mutation of the so-called Indian variant which has been detected and we just don’t know the potential for that to be a vaccine-defeating mutation”

Grant Shapps, UK Transport Secretary “we’ve seen two things really which caused concern. One is the positivity rate has nearly doubled since the last review in Portugal and the other is there’s a sort of Nepal mutation of the so-called Indian variant which has been detected and we just don’t know the potential for that to be a vaccine-defeating mutation”

Time for a Cabinet reshuffle surely?

Daily Mail report

The “Nepal Variant” – does it exist or is it just racist fearmongering?


UK: government risk assessment of #coronavirus Delta variant B.1.617.2 – evidence of frequent vaccine failure or decreased effectiveness in humans 


Image by David Mark from Pixabay

The highest ever #coronavirus daily case rates recorded on Planet Earth – and it’s not India or Brazil

The highest ever daily country case figure for coronavirus on Planet Earth was recorded in The Seychelles in May 2021. The Seychelles daily case figure, adjusted for population, reached an astonishing 4,083 cases per million. 

What is also surprising is that many of the countries on the list with the highest daily case rates also have excellent vaccination rates (see below). The Seychelles, for example, has vaccinated more than 60% of its population.

The reasons behind some of the high daily case numbers are given in articles we have previously published and have linked to below.


Seychelles: a population of 100,000 that has 900 #coronavirus vaccine breakthrough cases

Maldives: 60% positivity rate in Greater Male – “High chance of new #coronavirus variant”

Uruguay: over 1,000 daily new confirmed COVID-19 cases per million people

Sweden’s daily #coronavirus case rate far higher than Brazil or India


Charts courtesy of

UK: #coronavirus variant B.1.617.2 within hours of outcompeting B.1.1.7 in Britain

Well that escalated quickly. It took just a little over one month to do it, but B.1.617.2 is now just hours away from outcompeting B.1.1.7 (aka the UK or Kent variant) on a national scale in Great Britain.

Let’s not forget that B.1.1.7 virtually conquered the globe after being discovered in Britain in September 2020.  B117 Infections started to climb rapidly in Britain in December 2020, and it became the dominant sars-cov-2 variant in many countries across the globe shortly thereafter. Now, barely 5 months later, it is being dethroned by a variant that carries neither of the signature sars-cov-2 mutations that were of such concern in the existing VOC’s – E484K and N501Y.


This is the same B.1.617.2 / B.1.1.7 chart for India:


Charts courtesy of


UPDATE 24th May 2021:

UK: PHE data shows B.1.617.2 now outcompetes B.1.1.7



India: The stunning rise of the B.1.617.2 #coronavirus variant


UK: eleven vaccine breakthrough cases reported for B.1.617.2

India: The condition of two #coronavirus positive lionesses at Etawah Lion Safari deteriorates

The condition of two lionesses at Etawah Lion Safari who had tested positive for Covid-19 is not getting any better, claimed officials adding that they haven’t eat their food for a few days as well.  While giving information about the health of the two lionesses, KK Singh, director of Etawah Safari Park, said that both have stopped taking food, hence soup is being given to them in addition to glucose on the advice of doctors and experts called by Safari management.

Both the lioness have not been eating food for the last 10 days and are consuming only water and soup. Glucose is also being administered to them along with medicines at the animal hospital in Etawah Lion Safari. report


UPDATE 21 May 2021:

Four more Etawah Safari employees have been found corona infected. All have been sent to isolation. At the same time, Corona infected lioness Jennifer and Gauri’s condition is stable. However, lionesses have not yet started taking food.

The corona examination of the employees was conducted two days before in Safari. All the negatives were found in the antigen test, but in the RTPCR report that came out on Friday, four employees were found infected. At the same time, both sick lionesses are also being monitored in Safari hospital. report


See also: Rajasthan: ‘Lion’ Tripura becomes corona positive

See also: Thiruvananthapuram loses two big cats in one day 


India: two lionesses at Etawah safari park test positive for #coronavirus



Image by Julian_Hamburg from Pixabay