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Animals & Covid-19

As concerns grow over whether animals could continue to infect humans or other animals, Covid-19 researchers are seeking to identify which species might harbour the virus.

Although the source of SARS-CoV-2 has not yet been identified, research has shown that several animal species can be naturally infected, including ferrets, cats, dogs and primates.

In 2020, a Covid-19 outbreak on a Danish mink farm showed the potential damage of another animal species being infected, as a mutation in the virus meant it could be passed from humans to mink and back again.

The current advice from the European Centre for Disease Progression and Control suggests that the risk of a virus reservoir appearing in pets is low, but as more variants appear, research will need to continue each one’s potential for new infection.

A recent a study by Texas A&M University, USA, has found cases of the UK variant in both dogs and cats, but does not appear to be spreading between species.

Meanwhile, results from a study of cats, from the Institute of Diagnostic Virology, in Germany, showed that it could be passed from humans to cats, but so far could not be passed back.

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