On Wednesday, March 31, Russia said it had developed and registered the world's first COVID-19 vaccine for animals.
Developed by scientists of the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance (Rosselkhoznadzor), the vaccine could go into mass production as early as in April, deputy head Konstantin Savenkov said to TASS reporters.
The country’s agriculture safety watchdog said in a statement reported by MedicalXpress that the vaccine is called Carnivak-Cov, and its clinical trials started in October last year. It's apparently proven to be effective in dogs, cats, mink, foxes, and other animals, says Reuters.
"All test animals that were vaccinated developed antibodies to coronavirus in 100 percent of cases," said Savenkov.
"So far, it is the world’s first and only product for preventing COVID-19 in animals," he said.
It's sounding good so far, and the research on the length of the vaccine's efficacy continues, per Savenkov. So far, it's shown to last "no less than six months."
The importance of vaccinating animals
One of the main focuses of this vaccine, aside from saving animals from the virus, is to prevent any further mutations of the virus. Last year, millions of minks in Denmark were culled after a COVID-19 mutation was found in them, spreading from the animals to humans.
So the hope for such a vaccine is to minimize this mutation risk for animals, and from them jumping across to humans.
There have been other non-registered and experimental COVID-19 vaccines for animals "on the market," notably one that was given to apes in the San Diego Zoo earlier in March. Some of the apes had caught COVID-19, while others were inoculated as a safety precaution.
Outside of Russia, animal-breeding facilities and private companies are expressing their interest in the Carnivak-Cov animal vaccine, reported Medical Xpress.
It's easy to see why a COVID-19 vaccine for animals would be popular. As mutations of the coronavirus keep popping up around the world, potentially diminishing the efficacy rates of current COVID-19 vaccines. It's important to try and minimize the risk of more variants spreading from animals to humans as much as possible.