Back on March 21, scientists at the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance (Rosselkhoznadzor), in Russia, announced the world’s first animal vaccine against COVID-19, been registered in Russia. The agency claims the vaccine can be given to dogs, cats, foxes, and mink.
The deputy head of Rosselkhoznadzor, Konstantin Savenkov, told reporters: “Carnivak-Cov, a sorbate inactivated vaccine against the coronavirus infection (COVID-19) for carnivorous animals, developed by Rosselkhoznadzor’s Federal Center for Animal Health, has been registered in Russia. So far, it is the world’s first and only product for preventing COVID-19 in animals.”
A few days ago, according to Reuters, several Russian regions started vaccinating animals against COVID-19 at veterinary clinics. The vaccine will provide protection against the coronavirus for at least six months.
Other countries have expressed interest in the animal vaccine, including the EU, Argentina South Korea, and Japan, the agency said, according to the BBC.
Julia Melano, adviser to the head of Rosselkhoznadzor, said clinics were seeing an increase in vaccination requests from “breeders, pet-owners who travel frequently and also citizens whose animals roam freely.”
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Protection (CDC) and the American Veterinary Medical Association, among other global health agencies, there is currently no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the coronavirus to humans, although infections have been confirmed in various species worldwide.
Covid-19 has been a serious problem for mink – semi-aquatic mammals farmed for their fur. Multiple countries have reported infections in farmed mink which, in some cases, have fallen severely ill or died. The largest outbreak of COVID-19 in minks occurred in Denmark, resulting in millions of mink being culled and the industry closing until 2022.
The cost for two doses of the animal-specific vaccine is said to run around $7. Meanwhile, Zoetis, which develops vaccines for animals and livestock in the US, is reportedly working on its own version.