Science

Cats and dogs should also be vaccinated against Covid-19, say experts

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on January 27, 2021 Published on January 27, 2021

‘The disease spills back into the human population and we ended up with a new virus’

A team of experts from the University of East Anglia, Norwich, and the University of Minnesota stated that cats and dogs should also be vaccinated against coronavirus so as to control the transmission.

They are apprehensive of the fact that the continuously evolving virus ‘poses a significant long-term risk to public health.’

According to the experts, ‘vaccination of some domesticated animal species might be necessary to curb the spread of the infection’. Their research was published in the editorial journal Virulence.

Editor-in-chief of Virulence, Kevin Tyler, told Daily Mail that there is a risk that the virus can pass from animal to animal like it did in the case of minks and then it can evolve animal-specific strains.

Last year, Denmark’s government ordered the culling of millions of minks whose population witnessed the high spread of coronavirus.

He noted that the disease spills back into the human population and we ended up with a new virus that is related and “causing the whole thing all over again.”

Minks culled in Denmark

Commenting on the mink culling in Denmark, he stated: “In the case of domestic animals, companion animals, we might think about whether we could vaccinate them to stop that from happening. It’s not an obvious risk yet.”

He added that cats generally demonstrate asymptomatic symptoms of the virus. However, they can be infected by it and could infect humans too.

Cock van Oosterhout, professor of evolutionary genetics at UEA and one of the authors of Virulence suggested that the vaccine should be developed for pets, domestic animals just as a precaution to reduce the risk.

“Dogs and cats can contract coronavirus, there are no known cases of them carrying it on humans. However, as a human society, we must be prepared for any eventuality when it comes to Covid and the best way to do that is to consider the development of vaccines for animals as well,” he added.

This comes as the researchers from the United States and Russia are already planning to develop vaccines for minks that can control the spread of Covid-19, as per the previous report.

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Published on January 27, 2021
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