Animal

World’s First Animal C̴O̴V̴I̴D̴ Vaccine

No one is being left behind in the vaccination drive. In April, Russia announced it has developed and registered a C̴O̴V̴I̴D̴-̴1̴9̴ vaccine for animals as well. It said this is an important step to disrupt the ᴠɪʀᴜs’ ᴍᴜᴛᴀᴛɪᴏɴ, and mass production of this vaccine also began that month. The vaccine is called Cᴀʀɴɪᴠᴀᴋ-Cᴏᴠ, and has been tested on dogs, cats, mink, foxes and other animals since October. Researchers said it was effective in all subjects it was tested on. This could help prevent ᴅᴀɴɢᴇʀᴏᴜs ᴍᴜᴛᴀᴛɪᴏɴs emerging, protect vulnerable animals and support animal-driven industries, such as mink fur farming, that have been crippled by the ᴘᴀɴᴅᴇᴍɪᴄ.

KEY BACKGROUND

While a vaccine for animals may not seem like a priority in the midst of a ᴘᴀɴᴅᴇᴍɪᴄ where many humans do not have access to them, safeguarding animal populations is an important aspect of long-term ᴅɪsᴇᴀsᴇ control. The ᴠɪʀᴜs responsible for C̴O̴V̴I̴D̴-̴1̴9̴ is, experts believe, highly likely to have spilled over into humans from animals, which has happened with many major ᴅɪsᴇᴀsᴇs including ɪɴꜰʟᴜᴇɴᴢᴀ (ꜰʟᴜ), Eʙᴏʟᴀ and H̴I̴V̴. Humans are also capable of spreading the ᴅɪsᴇᴀsᴇ to animals—including pets, like cats and dogs, and agricultural animals, like mink—where ᴅᴀɴɢᴇʀᴏᴜs ᴍᴜᴛᴀᴛɪᴏɴs can possibly develop and spread back into humans.

KEY FACTS

  • 17,000 doses of the Carnivac-Cᴏᴠ vaccine have been produced at Russia’s Federal Center for Animal Health, the agriculture regulator said.
  • The initial batch will be distributed across several Russian regions, it said, with companies from countries including Germany, Poland, Kazakhstan, Thailand and South Korea having expressed interest in purchasing future doses.
  • It is unclear what animals are expected to receive the first batch though the vaccine was registered in March after tests showed responses in dogs, cats, mink and foxes.
  • The watchdog said it was in the process of preparing an application to register the vaccine in other countries around the world, notably the European Union.

SURPRISING FACT

The U.K., which monitors cases of C̴O̴V̴I̴D̴-̴1̴9̴ in some animals, reported two instances of cats seeming to have caught the ᴠɪʀᴜs from their owners. One, a four-month-old kitten, ᴅɪᴇᴅ after developing breathing difficulties. While there is no evidence that domestic animals can transmit the ᴠɪʀᴜs to humans, scientists warned of the need to monitor transmission in case they can act as a “ᴠɪʀᴀʟ ʀᴇsᴇʀᴠᴏɪʀ.”

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