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Variation in predicted COVID-19 risk among lemurs and lorises

Melin, AD; Orkin, JD; Janiak, MC; Valenzuela, A; Kuderna, L; Marrone, F; Ramangason, H; Horvath, JE; Roos, C; Kitchener, AC; Khor, CC; Lim, WK; Lee, JGH; Tan, P; Umapathy, G; Raveendran, M; Alan Harris, R; Gut, I; Gut, M; Lizano, E; Nadler, T; Zinner, D; Le, MD; Manu, S; Rabarivola, CJ; Zaramody, A; Andriaholinirina, N; Johnson, SE; Jarvis, ED; Fedrigo, O; Wu, D; Zhang, G; Farh, KK-H; Rogers, J; Marques-Bonet, T; Navarro, A; Juan, D; Arora, PS; Higham, JP

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AD Melin

JD Orkin

MC Janiak

A Valenzuela

L Kuderna

F Marrone

H Ramangason

JE Horvath

C Roos

AC Kitchener

CC Khor

WK Lim


P Tan

G Umapathy

M Raveendran

R Alan Harris

I Gut

M Gut

E Lizano

T Nadler

D Zinner


S Manu

CJ Rabarivola

A Zaramody

N Andriaholinirina

SE Johnson

ED Jarvis

O Fedrigo

D Wu

G Zhang

KK-H Farh

J Rogers

T Marques-Bonet

A Navarro

D Juan

PS Arora

JP Higham


The novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which in humans leads to the disease COVID-19, has caused global disruption and more than 2 million fatalities since it first emerged in late 2019. As we write, infection rates are at their highest point globally and are rising extremely rapidly in some areas due to more infectious variants. The primary target of SARS-CoV-2 is the cellular receptor angiotensin-converting enzyme-2 (ACE2). Recent sequence analyses of the ACE2 gene predict that many nonhuman primates are also likely to be highly susceptible to infection. However, the anticipated risk is not equal across the Order. Furthermore, some taxonomic groups show high ACE2 amino acid conservation, while others exhibit high variability at this locus. As an example of the latter, analyses of strepsirrhine primate ACE2 sequences to date indicate large variation among lemurs and lorises compared to other primate clades despite low sampling effort. Here, we report ACE2 gene and protein sequences for 71 individual strepsirrhines, spanning 51 species and 19 genera. Our study reinforces previous results while finding additional variability in other strepsirrhine species, and suggests several clades of lemurs have high potential susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Troublingly, some species, including the rare and endangered aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis), as well as those in the genera Avahi and Propithecus, may be at high risk. Given that lemurs are endemic to Madagascar and among the primates at highest risk of extinction globally, further understanding of the potential threat of COVID-19 to their health should be a conservation priority. All feasible actions should be taken to limit their exposure to SARS-CoV-2. [Abstract copyright: © 2021 Wiley Periodicals LLC.]


Melin, A., Orkin, J., Janiak, M., Valenzuela, A., Kuderna, L., Marrone, F., …Higham, J. (2021). Variation in predicted COVID-19 risk among lemurs and lorises. American Journal of Primatology, 83(6), e23255.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 4, 2021
Online Publication Date Apr 1, 2021
Publication Date Jun 1, 2021
Deposit Date Apr 19, 2021
Publicly Available Date Apr 1, 2022
Journal American Journal of Primatology
Print ISSN 0275-2565
Electronic ISSN 1098-2345
Publisher Wiley
Volume 83
Issue 6
Pages e23255
Publisher URL
Related Public URLs
Additional Information Additional Information : ** From PubMed via Jisc Publications Router **Journal IDs: eissn 1098-2345 **Article IDs: pubmed: 33792947 **History: accepted 04-03-2021; revised 03-03-2021; submitted 04-02-2021
Access Information : This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Melin, A. D., Orkin, J. D., Janiak, M. C., Valenzuela, A., Kuderna, L., Marrone, F., Ramangason, H., Horvath, J. E., Roos, C., Kitchener, A. C., Khor, C. C., Lim, W. K., Lee, J. G. H., Tan, P., Umapathy, G., Raveendran, M., Alan Harris, R., Gut, I., Gut, M., … Higham, J. P. (2021). Variation in predicted COVID‐19 risk among lemurs and lorises. American Journal of Primatology, e23255, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.
Funders : CERCA Programme del Departament d'Economia i Coneixement de la Generalitat de Catalunya;Secretaria d'Universitats i Recerca;Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation - Instituto de Salud Carlos III;Rockefeller University;Centro de Excelencia Severo Ochoa;Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC Discovery Grant);Generalitat de Catalunya (Departament de Salut, Departament d'Empresa i Coneixement);National Institutes of Health;CERCA;European Research Council (ERC) - European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme;Smart Growth Operating Program (2014-2020);MINECO/FEDER, UE;Unidad de Excelencia María de Maeztu;Canada Research Chairs Program;European Regional Development Fund;Howard Hughes Medical Institute;Obra Social "La Caixa";Natural Environment Research Council (NERC);Howard Hughes International Early Career
Grant Number: GRC 2017 SGR 880
Grant Number: R35GM130333
Grant Number: BFU2017‐86471‐P (MINECO/FEDER, UE)
Grant Number: 864203
Grant Number: CGL2017‐82654‐P
Grant Number: AEI (CEX2018‐000792‐M)
Grant Number: MINECO/FEDER, BIO2015‐71792‐P
Grant Number: NERC NE/T000341/1


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