Advertisement
Friday, Dec 03, 2021
Outlook.com
Outlook.com

Evidence Of SARS-CoV-2 Exposure Found In Household Cats, Dogs In Italy

The researchers, including those from the University of Liverpool in the UK, tested samples from over 500 pets collected during visits to vets in Northern Italy.

Evidence Of SARS-CoV-2 Exposure Found In Household Cats, Dogs In Italy
Evidence Of SARS-CoV-2 Exposure Found In Household Cats, Dogs In Italy
outlookindia.com
2020-07-28T13:22:07+05:30


Scientists have found neutralising antibodies to the SARS CoV-2 virus, that causes COVID-19, in a small proportion of household cats and dogs sampled in Italy, suggesting that the pets may be susceptible to the disease.

The researchers, including those from the University of Liverpool in the UK, tested samples from over 500 pets collected during visits to vets in Northern Italy.

While no animals tested PCR positive for the virus itself, 3.4 per cent of dogs and 3.9 per cent of cats had measurable SARS-CoV-2 neutralising antibodies, the researchers said.

Dogs from COVID-19 positive households were significantly more likely to test positive than those from COVID-19 negative households, according to the results of the yet to be peer reviewed study published as a pre-print on the website BioRxiv.

"Whilst none of the tested animals were shedding virus at the time of sampling, vets and the public need to continue to be aware that pet animals living in COVID-19 households will almost definitely have virus on them, and our research adds to the evidence that suggests they may also be infected," said Professor Alan Radford from Liverpool university.

"We must keep this in context though. There is no evidence for pet animals transmitting this virus to people," said Radford.

He said the overwhelming majority of people that are infected seem to get COVID-19 from other people they contact, and this is why following local guidelines on social distancing and hygiene remain critical.

"The assay we have used is considered the gold standard of antibody assays, measuring the ability of sera from these animals to neutralise an isolate of SARS-CoV-2 produced in the laboratory," said Ian Patterson from Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.

"The levels of antibody found were surprising and suggest we need to continue such studies looking at animals in the future," said Patterson, who performed the serological assays in the study.

He noted that it was particularly interesting to see that the presence of antibodies in dogs, but not cats, were linked to the household COVID-19 status.

This suggests that the interactions between owners and dogs under natural conditions of pet ownership may make them more susceptible, said Patterson.

"Understanding the role of pet animals in this pandemic is very challenging at a time when clearly the research and medical focus has to be on human health,” said Professor Nicola Decaro from the University of Bari in Italy.

"Our results clearly suggest pet animals can be infected only sporadically, thus likely not representing a source of infection for human being," Decaro said.

The priority has to remain on humans, but it will be important to better understand the role of animals if we are to fully control this pandemic, said the scientist.

Advertisement

Outlook Newsletters

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Read More from Outlook

World Disability Day 2021: Brooking No Challenge, The Extraordinary Tale Of Avani Lekhara

World Disability Day 2021: Brooking No Challenge, The Extraordinary Tale Of Avani Lekhara

The farmers’ movement reaffirms that peasants are makers of their own rebellion and constitutive of their own consciousness.

World Disability Day: 14-Year-Old Assam Boy Develops App To Convert Sign Language To Text

World Disability Day: 14-Year-Old Assam Boy Develops App To Convert Sign Language To Text

Assam school student Tejas Shukla has developed an application that can help deaf persons communicate by translating sign language to text and vice versa.

Mumbai Test, Day 1 LIVE: Iyer Departs, Agarwal Nears Ton

Mumbai Test, Day 1 LIVE: Iyer Departs, Agarwal Nears Ton

New Zealand clinched a morale-boosting draw in the first Test in Kanpur. Can India win the two-match series in Mumbai?

Kashmir: Ghulam Nabi Azad Emerges As Key Player In J&K With Or Without Congress

Kashmir: Ghulam Nabi Azad Emerges As Key Player In J&K With Or Without Congress

Crowds at Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad's recent rallies show that he will be a key player in elections in Jammu and Kashmir, when they happen.

Advertisement