Research into pathogenesis and transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in cats

Several studies have shown that cats are susceptible for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Since humans and cats live closely together, the question arises whether or not the virus is transmitted amongst cats and if cats are a potential source of infection for humans.

What does the research involve?

In this part of the project researchers study the susceptibility of cats and evaluate whether cats can efficiently transmit SARS-CoV-2. The efficiency of transmission is also referred to as the reproduction number (R). 

If the virus can efficiently spread amongst cats, additional measures need to be taken in order to control COVID-19. In collaboration with the researchers of the project part “Modelling of transmission between cats and humans” the effectivity of potential measures will be studied.

In addition researchers study the clinical signs and production of antibodies after infection. As in humans, clinical signs in cats are ambiguous. Some studies in both humans and cats have suggested that the presence of certain antibodies could aggravate clinical symptoms. This study will provide more insight in this theory. Moreover, the results can be used to develop pre-clinical studies for vaccine research.

Responsible partner

Wageningen University & Research is responsible for this study. Wim van der Poel is leading this research.