A subunit vaccine candidate based on the Spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 prevents infectious virus shedding in cats

Research in Veterinary Science


Of the numerous animal species affected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, cats are one of the most susceptible, and cat-to-cat transmission has been described. Although cat-to-human infection has not, as yet, been demonstrated, preventive measures should be taken in order to avoid both viral infection in cats and transmission among them. In this respect, the application of an effective vaccine to at-risk populations would be a useful tool for controlling the disease in this species. Here, we test a new vaccine prototype based on the Spike protein of the virus in order to prevent infection and infectious virus shedding in cats. The vaccine employed in experimentation, and which is easily produced, triggered a strong neutralizing antibody response in vaccinated animals. In contrast to that which occurred with control animals, no infectious virus was detected in the oropharyngeal or rectal swabs of vaccinated cats submitted to a SARS-CoV-2 challenge. These results are of great interest as regards future considerations related to implementing vaccination programs in pets. The value of cats as vaccination trial models is also described herein.

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