A company is beginning pilot testing of its coronavirus vaccine for cats

WION Web Team New Delhi, India Sep 16, 2020, 03.33 PM(IST)

Coronavirus in pet cats Photograph:( AFP )

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If you’re panicking about your pet feline developing the virus, a company is planning to develop a COVID-19 vaccine exclusively for cats

The coronavirus pandemic is wreaking havoc across the world. No country has been left untouched, and many territories are now inducting daily record numbers everyday.

When the pandemic began, scientists were wary of the virus jumping from humans to domestic animals and vice versa. Many theories went around the internet, but there is still no concrete proof of whether such transmission happens, and whether it needs to be taken seriously.

But if you’re panicking about your pet feline developing the virus, a company is planning to develop a COVID-19 vaccine exclusively for cats.

Trials soon

A company called Applied DNA Sciences is set to begin clinical trials for one of its LineaDNA vaccine candidates. The company currently has five vaccine candidates in the loop, all aimed at preventing coronavirus infections among domestic cats. 

In Pics: Are animals next? See how many have tested positive for COVID-19 so far!

On Wednesday, the company said that the vaccine will be solely for veterinary use. The initials trials, which are set to begin soon will be conducted in collaboration with Evvivax SRL, a biotechnology firm.

The partnership is still pending approval from the US Department of Agriculture, according to a statement released by Applied DNA Sciences. 

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To ascertain the seriousness of the virus among domestic felines and the potential severity of cats developing complications, the proposed study will take into account the immune responses of cats to the vaccine, the safety imbued in the vaccine candidates, and the tolerability of the vaccine candidates. Additionally, it will then look for antibody and T-cell responses in felines.

30 cats to be inoculated 

As part of its pilot phase, the trial will enrol 30 healthy domestic cats, and trace them for six months.

In July, Applied DNA Sciences had claimed that five of its LineaDNA vaccine candidates had exhibited strong antibody responses even at low doses among mice.

Also read: More cats infected with coronavirus than previously considered: Study

If this successfully works among cats, does that mean humans will also be eligible for inoculation? And are domestic pets really in danger from COVID-19?

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no proof that animals play a significant role in spreading the virus. CDC also claims that “in some situations”, the virus may spread from people to animals. But the risk of them giving it to humans is considered “low” as of now.