A study published Tuesday, 29, in the scientific journal PNAS concluded that dogs and cats can be infected with the new coronavirus, but do not develop clinical disease. Researchers at the Colorado State University School of Veterinary Medicine have also found that the immune response developed by cats is able to protect them from reinfection. According to them, the finding may be useful for the development of vaccines for both animals and humans.
“Cats develop significant neutralizing antibodies and are resistant to reinfection, although the duration of immunity in them is not known at present. This can be a useful model for subsequent vaccine testing, both for human and animal candidate vaccines, ”wrote the authors.
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To investigate the possibility of transmitting the virus from pets to humans, the researchers exposed seven healthy cats and three dogs to the new coronavirus. The results of the experiment showed that both can be infected, but neither develops symptoms of the disease.
“None of the animals exhibited clinical signs of disease characterized by any of these symptoms, at any point in the study,” says the research.
However, while dogs are not able to transmit the virus to other dogs, cats can transmit the infection to other cats through direct oral and nasal contact for 5 days after contamination. Scientists also noted that unlike cats, dogs did not produce immunity and were subject to new infections.
For the authors, although pets can contract the virus, they are unlikely to be a significant source of transmission to humans. According to them, the opposite is more likely: people transmit the virus to their pets.