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1.
Zoonoses Public Health ; 69(5): 439-450, 2022 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1723416

ABSTRACT

During the first months of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), cases of human-to-cat transmission were reported. Seroconversion was shown in cats infected under experimental and natural conditions. This large-scale survey of 1,005 serum samples was conducted to investigate anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody prevalence in domestic cats during the first 7 months of the pandemic in Germany and other European countries. In addition, we compared the sensitivity and specificity of two multispecies SARS-CoV-2 antibody enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA). Results were confirmed by using an indirect immunofluorescence test (iIFT) and a surrogate virus neutralization test (sVNT). Sera that were highly positive for feline coronavirus (FCoV) antibodies (n = 103) were included to correct for cross-reactivity of the tests used. Our results showed an overall SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity of 1.9% (n = 19) in a receptor-binding domain (RBD)-based ELISA, additional 0.8% (n = 8) were giving inconclusive results. In contrast, a nucleocapsid-based ELISA revealed 0.5% (n = 5) positive and 0.2% (n = 2) inconclusive results. While the iIFT and sVNT confirmed 100% of positive and 50%-57.1% of the doubtful results as determined in the RBD ELISA, the nucleocapsid-based assay showed a high discrepancy and only one of the five positive results could be confirmed. The results indicate significant deficits of the nucleocapsid-based ELISA with respect to sensitivity and specificity. Due to a significantly higher rate (5.8%) of positive results in the group of highly FCoV antibody-positive samples, cross-reactivity of the FCoV-ELISA with SARS-CoV-2 antibodies cannot be excluded. Furthermore, we investigated the impact of direct contact of domestic cats (n = 23) to SARS-CoV-2 positive owners. Considering one inconclusive result, which got confirmed by iIFT, this exposure did not lead to a significantly higher prevalence (4.4%; p = .358) among tested subjects. Overall, we conclude that cats are a negligible entity with respect to virus transmission in Europe.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Cat Diseases , Animals , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/veterinary , Cat Diseases/epidemiology , Cats , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay/methods , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay/veterinary , Humans , Pandemics , Prevalence , SARS-CoV-2
2.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 4048, 2021 06 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1290662

ABSTRACT

The ongoing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic necessitates the fast development of vaccines. Recently, viral mutants termed variants of concern (VOC) which may escape host immunity have emerged. The efficacy of spike encoding mRNA vaccines (CVnCoV and CV2CoV) against the ancestral strain and the VOC B.1.351 was tested in a K18-hACE2 transgenic mouse model. Naive mice and mice immunized with a formalin-inactivated SARS-CoV-2 preparation were used as controls. mRNA-immunized mice develop elevated SARS-CoV-2 RBD-specific antibody and neutralization titers which are readily detectable, but significantly reduced against VOC B.1.351. The mRNA vaccines fully protect from disease and mortality caused by either viral strain. SARS-CoV-2 remains undetected in swabs, lung, or brain in these groups. Despite lower neutralizing antibody titers compared to the ancestral strain BavPat1, CVnCoV and CV2CoV show complete disease protection against the novel VOC B.1.351 in our studies.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/immunology , Animals , Cell Line , Chlorocebus aethiops , Genome, Viral/genetics , Humans , Mice , Mice, Transgenic , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Vero Cells
3.
Viruses ; 13(6)2021 05 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1256663

ABSTRACT

Registered cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections in the German human population increased rapidly during the second wave of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic in winter 2020/21. Since domestic cats are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2, the occurrence of trans-species transmission needs to be monitored. A previous serosurvey during the first wave of the pandemic detected antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in 0.65% of feline serum samples that were randomly sampled across Germany. In the here-presented follow-up study that was conducted from September 2020 to February 2021, the seroprevalence rose to 1.36% (16/1173). This doubling of the seroprevalence in cats is in line with the rise of reported cases in the human population and indicates a continuous occurrence of trans-species transmission from infected owners to their cats.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/veterinary , Cat Diseases/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Animals , Animals, Domestic , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/transmission , Cat Diseases/diagnosis , Cat Diseases/transmission , Cats , Germany/epidemiology , Humans , Prevalence , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Seroepidemiologic Studies , Zoonoses/diagnosis , Zoonoses/epidemiology , Zoonoses/transmission
4.
Adv Virus Res ; 110: 59-102, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1172111

ABSTRACT

Within only one year after the first detection of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), nearly 100 million infections were reported in the human population globally, with more than two million fatal cases. While SARS-CoV-2 most likely originated from a natural wildlife reservoir, neither the immediate viral precursor nor the reservoir or intermediate hosts have been identified conclusively. Due to its zoonotic origin, SARS-CoV-2 may also be relevant to animals. Thus, to evaluate the host range of the virus and to assess the risk to act as potential animal reservoir, a large number of different animal species were experimentally infected with SARS-CoV-2 or monitored in the field in the last months. In this review, we provide an update on studies describing permissive and resistant animal species. Using a scoring system based on viral genome detection subsequent to SARS-CoV-2 inoculation, seroconversion, the development of clinical signs and transmission to conspecifics or humans, the susceptibility of diverse animal species was classified on a semi-quantitative scale. While major livestock species such as pigs, cattle and poultry are mostly resistant, companion animals appear moderately susceptible, while several model animal species used in research, including several Cricetidae species and non-human primates, are highly susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection. By natural infections, it became obvious that American minks (Neovison vison) in fur farms, e.g., in the Netherlands and Denmark are highly susceptible resulting in local epidemics in these animals.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/veterinary , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Animals , Animals, Wild/virology , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , Disease Reservoirs/veterinary , Disease Reservoirs/virology , Disease Susceptibility/diagnosis , Disease Susceptibility/veterinary , Disease Susceptibility/virology , Host Specificity , Livestock/virology , Models, Animal , Pets/virology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification
5.
Emerg Infect Dis ; 27(4): 1193-1195, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1146550

ABSTRACT

After experimental inoculation, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection was confirmed in bank voles by seroconversion within 8 days and detection of viral RNA in nasal tissue for up to 21 days. However, transmission to contact animals was not detected. Thus, bank voles are unlikely to establish effective transmission cycles in nature.


Subject(s)
Arvicolinae , COVID-19 , Disease Transmission, Infectious , Rodent Diseases , Seroconversion , Virus Shedding , Animals , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Serological Testing , Disease Models, Animal , Disease Susceptibility , Nasal Mucosa/virology , Rodent Diseases/immunology , Rodent Diseases/transmission , Rodent Diseases/virology
6.
Vaccines (Basel) ; 8(4)2020 Dec 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-979710

ABSTRACT

Domestic cats (Felis catus) are popular companion animals that live in close contact with their human owners. Therefore, the risk of a trans-species spreading event between domestic cats and humans is ever-present. Shortly after the emergence of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and its rapid spread around the world, the role of domestic cats in the transmission cycle was questioned. In the present study, the first large-scale survey of antibody occurrence in the domestic cat population in Germany was conducted, in order to assess the incidence of naturally occurring human to cat transmission of SARS-CoV-2. A total of 920 serum samples, which were collected from April to September of 2020, were screened by an indirect multispecies ELISA. Positive samples were verified using an indirect immunofluorescence test (iIFT) and additionally tested for neutralizing antibodies. Furthermore, serum samples were screened for antibodies against feline coronavirus (FCoV), in order to rule out cross-reactivity in the described test systems. Overall, 0.69% (6/920) of serum samples were found to be positive for antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 by ELISA and iIFT. Two of these reactive sera also displayed neutralizing antibodies. No cross-reactivity with FCoV-specific antibodies was observed. The finding of SARS-CoV-2 antibody-positive serum samples in the domestic cat population of Germany, during a period when the incidence of human infection in the country was still rather low, indicates that human-to-cat transmission of SARS-CoV-2 happens, but there is no indication of SARS-CoV-2 circulation in cats.

7.
Transbound Emerg Dis ; 68(4): 1779-1785, 2021 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-944802

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has caused a pandemic with millions of infected humans and hundreds of thousands of fatalities. As the novel disease - referred to as COVID-19 - unfolded, occasional anthropozoonotic infections of animals by owners or caretakers were reported in dogs, felid species and farmed mink. Further species were shown to be susceptible under experimental conditions. The extent of natural infections of animals, however, is still largely unknown. Serological methods will be useful tools for tracing SARS-CoV-2 infections in animals once test systems are evaluated for use in different species. Here, we developed an indirect multi-species ELISA based on the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2. The newly established ELISA was evaluated using 59 sera of infected or vaccinated animals, including ferrets, raccoon dogs, hamsters, rabbits, chickens, cattle and a cat, and a total of 220 antibody-negative sera of the same animal species. Overall, a diagnostic specificity of 100.0% and sensitivity of 98.31% were achieved, and the functionality with every species included in this study could be demonstrated. Hence, a versatile and reliable ELISA protocol was established that enables high-throughput antibody detection in a broad range of animal species, which may be used for outbreak investigations, to assess the seroprevalence in susceptible species or to screen for reservoir or intermediate hosts.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Cat Diseases , Cattle Diseases , Rodent Diseases , Animals , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/veterinary , Cat Diseases/virology , Cats , Cattle , Cattle Diseases/virology , Chickens , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay/veterinary , Ferrets , Humans , Mice , Rabbits , Rodent Diseases/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , Seroepidemiologic Studies
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