MOSCOW—As Russia’s efforts to vaccinate its population against Covid-19 sputter, authorities have turned to a new target group: animals.
Russian officials said they rolled out a homegrown animal vaccine, Carnivac-Cov, after trials showed that it generates antibodies in dogs, cats, foxes and mink.
While scientists say there is no strong evidence that animals play a large part in spreading Covid-19 to people, infections have been recorded in various species worldwide, including dogs, cats and apes. Massive outbreaks have been observed especially in mink farms, with Denmark culling millions of the mammals last year amid fears of new mutations.
Russia’s agriculture safety watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor said it has distributed 17,000 doses of the vaccine to both state and private clinics in several regions, including Moscow. Pet owners, breeders and owners of animals that are kept free range have expressed rising interest in the shot, and at least 10 cats and dogs have been vaccinated so far, the agency said.
The vaccine, which is administered in two doses 21 days apart, costs 500 rubles, or around $7, for the full course. Moscow authorized the shot in March following trials that showed it was harmless and provoked an immune response in 100% of the vaccinated animals.
The vaccine is based on a principle similar to some of the human shots, containing an inactivated virus, which does not pose a threat but triggers the immune system to produce specialized antibodies. / wsj