Ask an expert: Can biting insects transmit COVID-19?

by Editorial Staff | April 22, 2020
a mosquito feeds

Q: Can mosquitoes or other biting insects, like black flies, transmit the coronavirus that causes COVID-19?

A: While mosquitoes and other biting insects transmit several serious diseases (e.g. malaria and numerous viral diseases such as yellow fever, dengue, West Nile Virus, Zika and many others), there is no evidence or reason to believe that they can transmit SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Insect-borne pathogens have complex biological relationships with their vectors that have taken millennia to evolve. While much remains to be learned about the COVID-19 virus, it and its relatives (SARS-CoV-1 and the coronaviruses that cause many colds) are either transmitted by the respiratory route or through direct contact with contaminated surfaces and, therefore, are not likely candidates for transmission by blood feeding insects now or in the future.

James Sutcliffe
PhD, Emeritus Professor, Trent University

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