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Cats to the rescue; cats might hold the key to a COVID-19 vaccine

Cats to the rescue; cats might hold the key to a COVID-19 vaccine
/ Image by Chris Winsor / Moment / Getty Images

Research suggests that cats have a strong natural immune response to the virus.

A new scientific report reveals that cats and dogs can be infected by the novel coronavirus, but neither animal is likely to get sick. More importantly, cats develop a strong, protective immune response to COVID-19, leading researchers to wonder if it is worth studying pets to help in the development of a human vaccine.

The new research, published Tuesday by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, studied seven cats and three dogs that were injected with the virus. While scientists found cats can pass the virus to other cats, they discovered no proof that the animals can pass COVID-19 to humans.

“We report that cats are highly susceptible to infection, with a prolonged period of oral and nasal viral shedding that is not accompanied by clinical signs, and are capable of direct contact transmission to other cats,” researchers wrote in their findings.

“Resistance to reinfection holds promise that a vaccine strategy may protect cats and, by extension, humans. This could prove a useful measurement for subsequent vaccine trials for both human and animal vaccine candidates,” researchers wrote.

The new findings also claim that while cats can infect cats, dogs can’t infect other dogs.

To keep your cats safe from COVID-19, health experts suggest you keep cats indoors and observe social distancing with other pets in the event a human in your household falls ill.




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