Russia races to develop world’s first COVID-19 vaccine for cats

Russia is hoping for another coronavirus scoop by developing the world’s first vaccine for felines — as President Vladimir Putin’s recent announcement about one for humans was met with widespread skepticism, according to a report.

The country’s veterinary watchdog, Rosselkhoznadzor, said an inoculation for cats, as well as minks, is expected to go on trial in a few months, the Sun reported.

The announcement comes amid reports of domestic cats becoming infected in Moscow and the city of Tyumen, according to the news outlet.

“We are working on the creation of a vaccine for animals against the new coronavirus infection,” watchdog chief Sergey Dankvert said.

“People will want to vaccinate pets as well. For example, cats that become infected with a new coronavirus infection,” he added.

In was reported in May that infected minks had spread the deadly bug to humans in Holland in a cross-species infection that came after two mink farms were put into quarantine.

Russia has about 100 fur farms that specialize in mink farming for the large fur industry.

Last week, Putin announced that his country had officially registered the world’s first novel coronavirus vaccine, dubbed Sputnik-V — saying it offers “sustainable immunity” and that one of his daughters was inoculated.

Scientists and experts in several countries reacted with skepticism about the vaccine’s efficacy and safety. They cautioned that the rush to roll out the inoculation before extensive Phase 3 trials could backfire.

Meanwhile, the head of Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute, which developed the new human vaccine, claims the West is trying to poach the scientists behind it, the Sun reported.

“Any American or European university can only dream of having such researchers,” Professor Alexander Gintsburg said. “And they are seeking to lure them away. But they will not be able to.”

Russian officials have been forced to clarify that the controversial vaccine cannot be used on people under 18 or over 60 because trials have not been carried out on these age groups.

“A large amount of additional work is certainly required,” Gintsburg admitted.

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