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A serological investigation : SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing serum antibodies in cats

Here, investigated the infection of SARS-CoV-2 in cats by detecting specific serum antibodies. A cohort of serum samples were collected from cats in Wuhan, including 102 sampled after COVID-19 outbreak, and 39 prior to the outbreak. 15 of 102 (14.7%) cat sera collected after the outbreak were positive for the receptor binding domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2 by indirect enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Among the positive samples, 11 had SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies with a titer ranging from 1/20 to 1/1080. No serological cross-reactivity was detected between the SARS-CoV-2 and type I or II feline infectious peritonitis virus (FIPV). Our data demonstrates that SARS-CoV-2 has infected cat population in Wuhan during the outbreak.

In this study, detected the presence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in cats in Wuhan during the COVID-19 outbreak with ELISA, VNT and western blot. A total of 102 cats were tested, 15 (14.7%) were positive for RBD based ELISA and 11 (10.8%) were further positive with VNT. These results demonstrated that SARS-CoV-2 has infected cat populations in Wuhan, implying that this risk could also occur at other outbreak regions. Retrospective investigation confirmed that all of ELISA positive sera were sampled after the outbreak, suggesting that the infection of cats could be due to the virus transmission from humans to cats. Certainly, it is still needed to be verified via investigating the SARS-CoV-2 infections before this outbreak in a wide range of sampling. At present, there is no evidence of SARS-CoV-2 transmission from cats to humans. However, a latest report shows that SARS-CoV-2 can transmit between cats via respiratory droplets (Hualan Chen, 2020), so, a strong warning and regulations still should be issued to block this potential transmission route.

Ref :

Qiang Zhang1†, Huajun Zhang4†, Kun Huang1, Yong Yang1, Xianfeng Hui1, Jindong Gao1, Xinglin He1, Chengfei Li1, Wenxiao Gong1, Yufei Zhang1, Cheng Peng4, Xiaoxiao Gao4, Huanchun Chen1, Zhong Zou1*, Zhengli Shi4*, and Meilin J

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