DALLAS (NEXSTAR) – A new scientific report reveals that cats are developing a protective immune response to COVID-19, leading researchers to wonder if it’s worth studying pets to help develop a human vaccine.
“Resistance to reinfection promises that a vaccination strategy can protect cats and, ultimately, humans,” wrote researchers from the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State University.
A report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences confirms that cats and dogs can get coronavirus, but are unlikely to get sick. While the researchers found that cats could transmit the virus to other cats, they found no evidence that animals could transmit COVID-1
It is not clear at this time why cats develop “neutralizing antibody titers” to COVID-19. Researcher Dr. Bosco-Laut said cats appear to show an immune response that is stronger than other animals. It is also unknown how long this immunity can last.
“This may be a useful measurement for subsequent vaccination trials for both human and animal candidates,” the researchers wrote.
The report’s authors say that despite more than 1 million human deaths, there are only a few animal-related deaths from COVID-19.
In the experimental work, the researchers infected dogs and cats in a laboratory environment. They found that cats would shed the virus and spread it to other cats, while dogs would not. It is worth noting that other studies have found dog-to-dog transmission.
To protect your cats from COVID-19, researchers behind the newspaper suggest keeping cats indoors and watching for social distancing with pets in case a person in your household becomes ill.
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