Russia has registered the world’s first vaccine against COVID-19 for animals, the country’s agriculture safety watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor said on Wednesday.
Russia already has three coronavirus vaccines for humans, the most well known of which is Sputnik V, named after Sputnik, the world’s first satellite launched by the Soviet Union.
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Moscow has also given emergency approval to two other Russian made vaccines – EpiVacCorona and CoviVac.
The vaccine for animals, developed by a unit of Rosselkhoznadzor, was named Carnivac-Cov, the watchdog said.
“The clinical trials of Carnivac-Cov, which started last October, involved dogs, cats, Arctic foxes, minks, foxes and other animals,” said Rosselkhoznadzor’s Deputy Head Konstantin Savenkov.
“The results of the trials allow us to conclude that the vaccine is harmless and highly immunogenic as all the vaccinated animals developed antibodies to the coronavirus in 100 percent of cases.”
Immunity lasts for six months after vaccination, but the shot’s developers are continuing to analyse this, the watchdog said.
Mass production of the vaccine could start as early as April, Rosselkhoznadzor added.
Rosselkhoznadzor said the development of its shot would help prevent mutations in animals and cited Denmark’s decision to cull 15 million mink last year, after some were found to be carrying a mutated virus variant.
“The use of the vaccine, according to Russian scientists, can prevent the development of virus mutations,” the watchdog said.
It added that animal-breeding facilities and private companies from countries including Greece, Poland, Austria, the United States, Canada and Singapore had expressed interest in Carnivac-Cov.
Military officials in Russia’s second city Saint Petersburg announced earlier this week that army dogs would undergo mandatory vaccination before being deployed at airports and participating in nationwide World War II commemorations in May.