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Reader: Coronavirus CAN Infect Cats — dogs, not so much- Biology Online Magazine

Posted By: RumorMail
Date: Monday, 6-Apr-2020 17:20:52
www.rumormill.news/143896

In Response To: NYPost: Tiger at the Bronx Zoo tested positive for Covid-19, with symptoms similar to Humans. Cross species transmission (RumorMail)

https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.03.30.015347v1
Susceptibility of ferrets, cats, dogs, and different domestic animals to SARS-coronavirus-2

By
Smriti Mallapaty

Cats can be infected with the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, and can spread it to other cats, but dogs are not really susceptible to the infection, say researchers in China. The team, at Harbin Veterinary Research Institute, also concludes that chickens, pigs and ducks are not likely to catch the virus.

Other scientists say the findings are interesting, but cat owners should not be alarmed just yet. The results are based on lab experiments in which a small number of animals were deliberately given high doses of the virus, SARS-CoV-2, and do not represent real-life interactions between people and their pets, says virologist Linda Saif at the Ohio State University in Wooster. There is no direct evidence that the infected cats secreted enough coronavirus to pass it on to people, she says.

Pet patrol

With the coronavirus spreading rapidly around the world, some have raised concerns about whether it can pass between pets and people. So far, there have been a few reports of pets being infected: a cat in Belgium and two dogs in Hong Kong. “Cats and dogs are in close contact with humans, and therefore it is important to understand their susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 for COVID-19 control,” write the authors of the latest study1, a preprint posted on bioRxiv on 31 March, which has not been peer reviewed.

The team, led by virologist Bu Zhigao, introduced samples of the SARS-CoV-2 virus into the noses of five domestic cats. When two of the animals were euthanized six days later, the researchers found viral RNA, as well as infectious virus particles, in their upper respiratory tracts.

The other three infected cats were put in cages next to uninfected felines. The team later detected viral RNA in one of these exposed cats, which suggests that it contracted the virus from droplets breathed out by the infected cats. All four of the infected cats also produced antibodies against SARS-CoV-2. Surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 in cats should be considered as part of efforts to eliminate COVID-19 in humans, the authors note in the preprint


No symptoms

But Saif says that none of the infected cats showed symptoms of illness, and that only one out of the three felines exposed to infected animals caught the virus. “This suggests the virus may not be highly transmissible in cats,” she says.


https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-00984-8




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