Your pets may need a coronavirus vaccine of their own, experts suggest.
Dogs may be man’s best friend but unfortunately, they’re still able to transmit coronavirus to their owners. A group of scientists have concluded that a completely separate vaccine rollout for domesticated animals could be “necessary to curb the spread of the infection”. Millions of Brits have now received an NHS vaccination and there is a very real possibility that the cats and dogs of Britain may also be immunised in the near future.
Coronavirus can infect an array of species including cats, dogs and mink. While they are very unlikely to become ill from contracting Covid-19, they can easily pass the virus on to humans and cause us potential harm. In order to prevent any future outbreaks, experts from the University of East Anglia, the Earlham Institute and the University of Minnesota are now calling for the vaccination of domesticated animals all over the world.
In an article for the Virulence journal, they explained that pets “pose a significant long-term risk to public health. Cats are asymptomatic but they are infected by it and they can infect humans with it. The risk is that it starts to pass…from animal to animal, and then starts to evolve animal-specific strains, but then they spill back into the human population and you end up essentially with a new virus which causes the whole thing to start all over again.”
Russia is currently undergoing clinical trials on a coronavirus vaccine for mink and other domestic animals, which may become widely available in the next few months. The UK government are yet to comment on the issue but we’ll update you when they do.