IMAGE: Hayley Yaglom, TGen genomic epidemiologist and lead researcher on a project to test pets for COVID-19, takes a blood sample from a dog. view More
Image Credit: Photo: Courtesy of TGen.
PHOENIX, Ariz., March 10 / PRNewswire / – The Translational Genome Research Institute (TGen), a City of Hope subsidiary, today announced the start of a new scientific study: testing pets from Arizona people who have contracted COVID-19 .
No pets will be injured during this study as all sample collections are performed by trained veterinary staff. Among the more than 120 pets that tested positive nationwide, there is no evidence that pets can transmit the virus to humans.
TGen received a grant from the Arizona Department of Health (ADHD) to conduct a pilot study examining SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in animals. Funding comes from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE).
To date, four pets – two dogs and two cats – have tested positive for COVID-19 in Arizona.
“We want to better understand the risk factors that lead to all forms of COVID-19 transmission between humans and animals,” said Hayley Yaglom, a genomic epidemiologist and lead TGen researcher on the study.
Pet Testing Eligibility
Dog and cat owners who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past two weeks can participate in the study. The tests are free. Owners must be at least 18 years old, give their consent and fill out a questionnaire. The pet must be vaccinated against rabies, mainly indoors, and tolerant of the handling and restraint required for routine veterinary care.
The project staff, accompanied by a veterinarian, will visit the households of qualified pet owners to take nose, stool and blood samples.
Tests for the presence of the COVID-19 virus or antibodies to the disease are being carried out by TGen, which has been performing tests and genomic sequencing of positive COVID-19 samples in humans since the pandemic began in early 2020.
Keepers must wear masks during sampling, and project staff wear masks and gloves. Spanish-speaking staff is available if required. Pet owners will be informed of the test results within 3-4 weeks. For pets that test positive, owners may be asked to allow additional samples to be taken. Positive tests are reported to the Arizona State Veterinarian and ADHD.
Expansion of TGen’s One Health Initiative
This pilot project is under the umbrella of TGen’s One Health Collaborative, an initiative that TGen launched in 2018 to integrate research results and create a holistic view of human, animal and environmental health, according to David Engelthaler, Ph. D., Head of TGen Infectious Disease Studies.
“In addition to monitoring the COVID-19 virus in pets,” said Dr. Engelthaler, “Our work also aims to develop a response plan among One Health staff that highlights best practices and the effective integration of SARS-CoV-2 and other animal and human pathogen monitoring into established systems. “
For more information on testing dogs or cats for COVID-19, please send questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
About TGen, a subsidiary of City of Hope
The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is a not-for-profit organization based in Phoenix, Arizona dedicated to conducting breakthrough research with life-changing results. TGen is affiliated with City of Hope, a world-renowned independent research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases: CityofHope.org. This affiliation with precision medicine enables the two institutes to complement each other in research and patient care, with City of Hope providing a significant clinical setting to advance the scientific discoveries of TGs. TGen is focused on helping patients with neurological disorders, cancer, diabetes, and infectious diseases through cutting-edge translational research (the process of quickly moving research towards patient benefit). Doctors and scientists at TGen are working to decipher the genetic components of both common and complex rare diseases in adults and children. In cooperation with employees from science and medicine worldwide, TGen makes a significant contribution to helping our patients through the efficiency and effectiveness of the translation process. Further information is available at: tgen.org. Follow TGen on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter @TGen.
TGen Senior Science Writer
Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the correctness of the press releases published on EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of information via the EurekAlert system.