Russia has registered the world’s first COVID-19 vaccine for animals, the country’s agricultural regulator said on Wednesday.
Clinical trials of the vaccine — called Carnivac-Cov — started last October and involved dogs, cats, Arctic foxes, minks, foxes and other animals, said Konstantin Savenkov, deputy head of Rosselkhoznadzor, according to a Reuters report.
“The results of the trials allow us to conclude that the vaccine is harmless and highly immunogenic as all the vaccinated animals developed antibodies to the coronavirus in 100% of cases,” Savenkov said. “It is the world’s first and only product for preventing COVID-19 in animals,” he added.
Mass production of the vaccine, which was developed by the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance, a unit of Rosselkhoznadzor, could start as early as April, the watchdog said.
It added that businesses in Greece, Poland, Austria, the U.S., Canada and Singapore had already expressed interest in buying the shot.
The watchdog said immunity lasts for six months after vaccination, but the shot’s developers are continuing to analyze this.
Millions of mink were culled in November 2020 as a precaution after a COVID-19 mutation was found at more than 200 Danish mink farms. It came after a mutation of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 found in the animals spread to 12 humans. However, the Danish government later reversed the decision after admitting there was no legal basis for ordering the mass cull.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said there was no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading COVID-19 to people, and that the risk of animal-to-human transmission was low. However, the CDC has said more studies are needed to understand how different animals could be affected by the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, and has advised people with COVID-19 to avoid contact with animals.
The World Health Organization said in November the virus is “predominantly” passed between humans but that there are several examples of human-to-animal transmission. It added that several animals had tested positive after coming into contact with infected humans, including minks, dogs, domestic cats, lions and tigers.
Earlier this month, several great apes at San Diego Zoo were given an experimental COVID-19 vaccine designed for animals. Four orangutans and five bonobos each had two doses of a shot made by Zoetis
the world’s largest animal health company.
Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine — for human use — is awaiting approval from the European Medicines Agency. The vaccine shows 91.6% efficacy against symptomatic coronavirus disease, according to results from its late-stage clinical trial published in medical journal The Lancet on February 2.
The trial included 2,144 people aged 60 and older. A sub-analysis carried out on this group showed that the vaccine had 91.8% efficacy against symptomatic disease.