About 15% of the cats in Wuhan were infected with a new type of coronavirus. Whether SARS-CoV-2 is transmitted from animals to humans is still unknown, according to a study by scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, published on bioRxiv.

Recently, scientists have found that a new type of coronavirus can infect not only humans but also some mammals – in particular, ferrets and cats. The latter carry the disease as hard as some people. In this case, the infection is not transmitted to dogs.

Based on this study, the scientists decided to check how many cats were infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus in Wuhan, the city from which the new type of coronavirus pandemic began.

Since at the moment there are no new type tests for coronavirus for cats, researchers had to develop their own analysis method. They created special indicators based on SARS-CoV-2 envelope proteins and with their help checked whether there were antibodies in the blood of animals that could neutralize the virus.

Testing several dozen domestic and stray cats showed that approximately 15% of them are infected with a new type of coronavirus.

“We discovered antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 in the body of more than ten cats from Wuhan. This indicates that something similar may occur in other regions of the Earth that are affected by the epidemic. It is not yet known whether the virus can be transmitted from cats to humans, but recently our colleagues have proven that it can spread from one animal to another by airborne droplets”.

Qiang Zhang, lead author of the study