Gorillas Infected With COVID-19 Make Full Recovery

San Diego Safari Park/Instagram

Gorillas that contracted COVID-19 from a San Diego-area zoo park, as reported by Nautilus last month, have now made a recovery.

San Diego Safari Park/Instagram

CNN noted in a Tuesday report that several gorillas are back in public view for visitors after making a full recovery from contracting coronavirus. The gorillas, who are at San Diego Zoo Safari Park, were diagnosed with the B.1.429 variant of the virus—also known as the California variant or West Coast variant—despite zoo workers taking “all recommended biosecurity precautions.”

Nautilus reported at the time that two of the animals were diagnosed positive for coronavirus, but that there was “a concern that additional members of the eight-gorilla group will become infected, due to the gorillas living together. Zoo officials are operating under the premise that all of the gorillas have been exposed.”

Indeed, CNN reported that all eight of the western lowland gorillas caught the virus, and displayed some symptoms throughout their illness, including, “mild coughing, congestion, nasal discharge and intermittent lethargy.”

The zoo credited the gorilla recovery to “its veterinary team, wildlife care professionals, and a collaboration with a wide array of colleagues and partners,” according to the article, noting that they offered “the highest standard of care.”

San Diego Safari Park/Instagram

One older gorilla, Winston, even received monoclonal antibody therapy among his treatments, as he has heart disease and pneumonia. The treatment, from a supply not permitted for human use, was part of the mix used in his recovery.

“We’re so grateful for the outpouring concern and support we’ve received while the troop safely recovered,” said Lisa Peterson, executive director of the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. “We’re thrilled to share the joy that this beloved troop brings to our community and to our guests.”

The zoo will be sharing documentation of the coronavirus case involving the gorillas, with hopes that it will help “provide important information regarding scientific understanding of the virus and its effects on great apes.”


Written by Phil West