Russian scientists have registered the world’s first COVID-19 vaccine for animals, after tests revealed it was effective in several species including pets and livestock.
This will allow mass production of the vaccine to begin as early as this month, raising hopes that potential future mutations of the virus that could be even more harmful to humans may be prevented from spreading.
Tests carried out revealed that Carnivac-Cov, which entered clinical trials last October, generated antibodies against the virus in dogs, cats, foxes, mink and other animals.
The jab already has orders from fur farms in Russia and other businesses in Greece, Poland and Austria.
Companies in the US, Canada and Singapore are said to have also shown an interest in the drug.
In a statement, Konstantin Savenkov, deputy head of regulator Rosselkhoznadzor – the Russian Federal Centre for Animal Health, said, “The results of the trials allow us to conclude that the vaccine is safe and highly immunogenic as all the vaccinated animals developed antibodies to coronavirus.
“The use of the vaccine, according to Russian researchers, can prevent the development of viral mutations, which most often occur during interspecies transmission of the agent.
“So far, it is the world’s first and only product for preventing Covid-19 in animals.”
The regulator said the drug would be able to protect vulnerable species and prevent viral mutations.
The country already has three Covid vaccines for humans, the best known of which is Sputnik V.
Two others, EpiVacCorona and CoviVac have also gotten emergency approval from Moscow.
The World Health Organisation, WHO, has expressed concern over the transmission of the virus between animals and humans.
Russia has so far only registered two cases of coronavirus among animals, both in cats.