A groundbreaking study recently published by the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) shows that domestic cats may play an important role in the transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19.
In fact, not only do our fellow cats get infected with this virus, but they can also spread it to other cats and even contaminate their environment.
The study, published in a recent issue of the journal Microbiology Spectrum, provides important insight into the potential risks associated with cats infected with the virus.
“Corona 19 is penetrating the home, and cats should be considered part of the family”
Professor Wim van der Poel, an expert on zoology at the Wageningen University Research Institute (WUR) in the Netherlands, who led the study, said, “In fact, as long as the Corona virus 19 has penetrated our homes, cats have been . associated with viral transmission. You have to see them as part of the same family,” he said.
In order to identify the risk of COVID-19 infection from cats, Professor Poel’s research team carried out extensive research using various methods.
They tested 16 cats that were exposed to the virus in different ways.
Some of the cats were directly exposed to the virus from human patients naturally infected with COVID-19. And other cats were exposed to infected cats.
The research team observed the cats closely and carried out regular experiments. They collected nasal and oropharyngeal samples along with blood samples.
A detailed sampling process was carried out over a period of three weeks, starting on the day the cats came into direct contact with the virus. The team took nasal and oropharyngeal samples three times during this period. Similarly, oral and rectal samples were collected 15 times.
The aim was to evaluate the direct and indirect transmission of the COVID-19 virus between cats.
The research team found that cats are actually very susceptible to the COVID-19 virus. Furthermore, it has been confirmed that infected cats can efficiently transmit the virus to their mates and contaminate their environment.
However, to ensure the safety of all involved, the research team noted that no humans were exposed to the infected cats. “Our animal handlers have always been completely protected,” said Poel.
Professor Poel is involved in an investigation into a mink infected with the coronavirus in 2021
He warned that we must consider the risk of transmission from pets. “We have to assume that cat owners can be infected by cats infected with COVID-19. Because these cats excrete an infectious virus. “
The research team plans to further investigate the susceptibility of the coronavirus in other animal species and further study the risks associated with viral transmission.
Meanwhile, in 2021, minks were co-infected with Corona 19 in mink farms in Denmark and the Netherlands, followed by suspected cases of the virus mutating and infecting humans, putting pressure on the possibility of transmission infection to animals.
At the time, Professor Poel analyzed the entire genome sequence of the infected mink and the virus of the farm worker on the farm where the COVID-19 infection occurred, and found that the typical viral gene sequence seen in the infected mink was the same as the sequence of viral genes observed in the infected mink. farm worker virus.
Above all, the presence of the animal’s genetic characteristics in samples from sick workers weeks after the initial outbreak indicated that they had been infected by a ‘mink’ rather than other people.
“After tracing the origin of the virus and examining its mutation, epidemiology and virology, we found that there were five new mutations in certain mink on some farms,” said Poel. The virus started there,” he concluded.
However, at the time, he said, “The dogs and cats that lived together on the mink farm also tested positive for Corona 19, but few clinical signs were shown.” “There is no evidence that pets contribute to the spread of the virus in humans.”