Covid vaccine being developed for pets such as cats and dogs

Covid vaccine being developed for dogs, cats, lions, leopards, mice and rabbits. Image: Gustavo Fring/ Pexels

A COVID vaccine is under development in India suitable for use on cats, dogs and all species, according to scientists.

Scientists in India are developing a Covid vaccine for animals, including household pets such as cats and dogs, in what they view as a “positive breakthrough.”

ICAR-National Veterinary Research Centre on Equines in Hisar, India is producing the country’s first indigenously-developed Covid vaccine for animals, called ‘Anocovax’.

According to the centre, the vaccine neutralises both Delta and Omicron variants of the virus and uses an inactivated SARS-CoV-2 Delta dose.

The ICAR said in a statement: “The CAN-CoV-2 ELISA Kit is a sensitive and specific nucleocapsid protein-based indirect ELISA Kit for antibody detection against SARS-CoV-2 in canines.”

Dr Dilip Sonune told indianexpress.com: “The mutative nature of this virus can ultimately lead to its spreading in all species, and thus, needs an inhibitor like Anocovax — making it a positive breakthrough in this endeavour.”

The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that Covid can spread from people to animals during close contact, meaning Anocovax could prove a significant development.

Scientists in India have noted that the SARS-CoV-2 Delta strain is identical in both humans and animals, hence the isolation for the vaccine.

“So far, infection has been reported in lions. Pet animals like dogs and cats are also at high risk due to their close contact with the human population,” Dr Sonune said.

“Jumping of SARS-CoV-2 from human to animals might accelerate its evolution, and hence affect surveillance and control strategies of Covid-19 in humans.”

Dr Vineeta Poojary said the development of a vaccine for animals was being developed “primarily because there have been reports of Covid [infection] in animals from close contact with people”.

“The concern arises from the fact that if animals get Covid, [the virus] can mutate further than what has been seen in humans. Having a vaccine available would prevent that from being a worry anymore,” she added.

On April 1, 2021, Russia claimed to have developed the world’s first Covid-19 vaccine for animals.

According to Russia’s agricultural safety watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor at the time, clinical trials of the new coronavirus vaccine for animals named Carnivac-Cov began in October 2020.

The clinical trials involved both wild and domestic animals and included dogs, foxes, cats and mink along with other animals.


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Written by

Matthew Roscoe

Originally from the UK, Matthew is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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