Latvian researchers study coronavirus spread in cats / Article

Researchers from the Latvian University of Life Sciences and Technology (LLU) have tested cats in households and animal shelters and discovered a number of Covid-19 cases, Latvian television reported on Aug. 25.

The study started in winter, when LSM reported on it. The scientists tested almost 300 cats in households and animal shelters and found Covid-19 in three cats and antibodies in seven other cats. The virus detected is the same as in humans. The study was originally conducted because of concerns that the virus could spread as actively in cats as it does in minks.

“Cats have the same virus that circulates in the human population. It has not been so widespread in cats. Those were isolated cases, maybe they should look at the individual genetic factors of cats, ”says Professor Kaspars Kovaļenko, Dean of the Veterinary Faculty of the LLU.

Cats have also been tested in animal shelters. Outbreaks have not been detected there, so the researchers assume that the virus is transmitted from humans to cats, at least for the time being, and that the animal does not pass it on. However, because the virus can mutate, it is possible that its properties will change.

“These studies should continue to help us understand epidemiology in animals. If we really wanted to understand what was going on in the animal population, [we should test] not just cats, dogs. For example, we should test domestic pigs, ”added Kovaļenko.

The professor also said the study had already been completed in February and its results would now be published. It is possible that the type of Covid-19 virus delta, which is most common in Latvia today, spreads differently among animals.

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