Also, outside the laboratory, the infection depends mainly on the respiration of viral particles by an infected person, and normal contact does not necessarily become an infection for animals. In the laboratory, ferrets have been shown to be susceptible to virus infection and spread to other ferrets.
But Tufts scientists say in a paper yet to be reviewed that in a house with 29 pet ferrets and two people with Covid, not a single ferret has been infected with the virus.
The 29 ferrets roamed the house freely, and the two adults were sick enough for Covid to show symptoms, so there was ample opportunity for infection. Kaitlin Sawatzki, a virologist at Tufts University and one of the authors of the ferret paper, said: “Isn̵
The researchers concluded that there may be genetic barriers to infection that are overcome in a laboratory with concentrated doses of the virus. Mink, which are in the same family as ferrets, seem to be very easily infected and get the disease. Researchers also reported the transfer of animals from humans to mink farms in the Netherlands in a document that has not yet been reviewed. Dr Savacki said the newspaper showed “very strong evidence of numerous, independent events from mink to human transmission”.
Researchers from the state of Colorado advise to keep cats indoors, especially if a person in the household has become infected, as they can spread it to other cats. Also, if a person with Covid is to be admitted to a hospital and has domestic cats, Dr. Porter suggested, cat caregivers should know how to observe social distance, as they would with a human.
Infected cats that have shown immunity, Dr. Bosco-Laut said, are animals that are infected by contact with cats other than the pipette. And, she said, the immune response is stronger than in some other laboratory animals, although how long this protection can last is completely unknown.