MOSCOW, April 3. /TASS/. /TASS/. Chinese vets have collected blood samples from 100 stray and house cats from Wuhan, finding that about 15% of them have been infected with the novel coronavirus. Their research was published on the bioRxiv website.
"Previous studies suggested cat could be a potential susceptible animal of SARS-CoV-2. Here, we investigated the infection of SARS-CoV-2 in cats by detecting specific serum antibodies," the abstract to the research article informs.
"A cohort of serum samples were collected from cats in Wuhan, including 102 sampled after COVID-19 outbreak, and 39 prior to the outbreak. 15 of 102 (14.7%) cat sera collected after the outbreak were positive for the receptor binding domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2 by indirect enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)," the researchers inform.
"Our data demonstrates that SARS-CoV-2 has infected cat population in Wuhan during the outbreak," the abstract concludes.
The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which causes the COVID-19 disease, can enter the body of humans and other mammals, including monkeys, ferrets and cats, which are affected by the infection nearly to the same extent as humans.
In late December 2019, Chinese officials notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about the outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, in central China. Since then, cases of the novel coronavirus - named COVID-19 by the WHO - have been reported in every corner of the globe, including Russia.
On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. To date, more than 1,000,000 people have been infected worldwide and over 53,000 deaths have been reported. That said, over 213,000 individuals have recovered from the illness across the globe.