ST. PETERSBURG, January 14. /TASS/. Scientists of St. Petersburg’s Smorodintsev Research Institute of Influenza have conducted a genetic study of the SARS-CoV-2 virus detected in a cat for the first time in Russia, discovering that the strain is identical to the one circulating in Russia, the institute reported on Thursday.
"Within the framework of the Coronavirus Russian Genetic Initiative (CoRGI), scientists of the Smorodintsev Research Institute of Influenza of the Russian Healthcare Ministry conducted the first Russian genetic study of the SARS-CoV-2 virus detected in a domestic cat," the statement on the institute’s VKontakte page said.
According to the institute, owners of the domestic animal who had the disease earlier in a light form were the most likely source of the infection. The animal had an elevated body temperature, became apathetic, lost appetite. The institute’s specialists together with veterinarians of the Burlakov clinic took swabs of the animal’s mucous lining of larynx and nasal cavity where the coronavirus was detected.
"Pathogens isolated in the owner and the cat are practically identical. The sequenced strains demonstrated that they belong to the most common GR clade circulating in Russia and do not carry any specific replacements which would distinguish them from the viruses obtained earlier from the infected patients. Currently, the animal is in a stable condition, the appetite has returned, the pet is recovering," the institute noted.
The institute also added that cases of the infection of pets have been noted since the very beginning of the 2020 pandemic. Cats endure the infection with varying degrees of severity and in the absolute majority of recorded cases the animal recovers. According to the institute, taking into account that the cases of the novel coronavirus infection among pets are highly rare, it is still possible to assert that in all cases the owners remain the single source of the infection, while the animals themselves can neither transmit the virus to other pets, nor to their owners.