Russia Registers World's First COVID-19 Vaccine for Animals
Russia has registered for use the world's first COVID-19 vaccine for animals. The new vaccine is called Carnivac-Cov, and is ready to be used to inoculate farm animals as well as domestic pets.
Russian scientists have stated that the vaccine tested in animals caused antibodies to develop in 100% of the cases.
The clinical trials on animals such as dogs, cats, Arctic foxes, minks, and other animals, started in October of 2020. Recent results have shown the vaccine to be both highly effective as well as being harmless in terms of adverse effects.
The Russian government has already begun vaccinating farm animals such as minks at its fur farms, and will likely push the vaccine into its veterinary hospitals to be made available for domestic pets soon.
Interestingly, the US has also seen several cases of zoo animals testing positive for COVID-19 in 2020, including tigers as well as gorillas. Over 40 cats and 20 dogs have also tested positive for COVID-19 in the US. Some animals even exhibited visible symptoms including lethargy and coughing. Studies are likely still being conducted on whether infected animals can pass the virus to their human counterparts, but the route of SARS-CoV-2 exposure for the zoo animals has been through infected animal handlers. A study out of Wuhan in September 2020, has indicated that a low but significant portion (11/141) of cats in animal hospitals as well as shelters have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. Again, it is currently unclear how likely it is for domestic pets such as cats and dogs to spread SARS-CoV-2 to humans. However, just from an animal wellbeing perspective (e.g., having to cull millions of minks due to COVID-19 in Denmark), and to eliminate the possibility of animal to human transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, an animal COVID-19 vaccine is a welcome addition in the arsenal to fight the pandemic.