Question
Asked 5th Apr, 2020

Is it possible that cat owners have higher immunity for COVID-19?

In a paper deposited in BioRxiv entitled: "Susceptibility of ferrets, cats, dogs, and different domestic animals to SARS-coronavirus-2" the team from Harbin Vet Institute intentionally infected several species of animals including cats with SARS-CoV-2. The results showed that the virus was transmitted between the cats, but no sympthoms of COVID-19 were observed.
This result is interesting in terms of an observation made by a medic from Spain - Sabina Olex-Condor that from the 100 patients serious with COVID-19 that she examined there were no cat owners. She suggested as a hypothesis that due to cross-immunity (cats are a known reservoir of coronaviruses) cat owners have milder sympthoms of COVID-19.
I'm aware that the paper from Harbin Institute is a pilot study, has many possible dead ends and limitations. I'm also aware that this cross-immunity hypothesis suggested by Sabina need serious assement due to limited number (and problalbly non-representative set) of patients.
Do you think that this is possible in terms of knowledge of human immunology? If the above is met do any of you have access to indepth demografic (?) data of people infected with SARS-CoV-2 to check this hypothesis?
Disclaimer: not an expert in medicine or veterinary, I study plant genomics, this is pure scientific curiosity.
I hope that your families and friends are well.

Most recent answer

7th Dec, 2020
Luis Felipe Dias Lopes
Universidade Federal de Santa Maria
I was doing a parallel research ... we have already reached 1000 interviews ... The results are spectacular... lflopes67@gmail.com (Brazil)

Popular answers (1)

25th Jul, 2020
Arvind Singh
Banaras Hindu University

All Answers (21)

16th Apr, 2020
Raquel Flores
Technology Innovation Institute (TII)
I have read somewhere else about this claim by Sabina Olex Condor, but haven't been able to find the source or original post/disclosure. Could you please share the link or tell us where to find it?
17th Apr, 2020
Brian Thomas Foley
Los Alamos National Laboratory
There are thousands of coronaviruses infecting mammals. Humans commonly are infected with four which cause common colds (229E, OC43, HKU1 and NL63) and we have also been infected by SARS-CoV (2003-2004 outbreak) and MERS-CoV (2013 and other small outbreaks), as well as this new (SARS-CoV-2 pandemic) strain. Cats and dogs, and bats and pigs and cattle and horses all have coronaviruses of various types infecting them too.
There is no evidence that other cat coronaviruses such as the Feline coronavirus UU21, or Feline infectious peritonitis virus, can infect humans or cause any cross-protection against SARS-CoV-2. These viruses are all very distantly related to each other, and so are the 4 human common cold coronavirses, so we would not expect any cross-protection at all. If that type of broadly cross-protective immunity was possible, then one human influenza vaccine would be good for all, and making a vaccine for HIV would be easy.
2 Recommendations
17th Apr, 2020
Mohamed Samy Abousenna
Central Laboratory for Evaluation of Veterinary Biologics, Agricultural Research Center, Egypt
What's the relationship between Human and cats immunity, I think the only hypothesis which could be considered if the SARS-CoV-2 is induced the infection to Human through carrier cats, in this case we could investigate if the cat immune system had impact on attenuation of SARS-CoV-2 or not
4 Recommendations
17th Apr, 2020
Brian Thomas Foley
Los Alamos National Laboratory
The SARS-CoV-2 virus did not originate in cats. It came from bats. It can infect humans and cats, but neither was the natural host for this virus. Even if it can infect cats, it is not clear if it can become pandemic in cats. We hope not. But it is recommended that humans infected with SARS-CoV-2 who own cats, should not let their cats roam outside, just as a precaution.
1 Recommendation
17th Apr, 2020
Alaa Raheem Kazim
Baghdad University College of Science
Following
17th Apr, 2020
Mohamed Samy Abousenna
Central Laboratory for Evaluation of Veterinary Biologics, Agricultural Research Center, Egypt
@Brian Thomas Foley I know it is originated from bats, I meant is there cat to human transmission or not, and if it's happening does it have impact on virus virulence, That's what should be considered
5 Recommendations
17th Apr, 2020
Muhammad Mustapha Jibril
Bayero University, Kano
Yes it is possible since they cohabit, there must have been a transfer of beneficial microbes from the cat to the owner. There are research evidences showing cats having some level of resistance to the flu virus, please refer the contribution made by Bartosz Ulaszewski and others, thank you.
1 Recommendation
17th Apr, 2020
Brian Thomas Foley
Los Alamos National Laboratory
Mohamed Samy Abousenna , first the virus would need to be transferred to a cat from a human, as it has only been spreading in humans for a short time. This is already proven to have happened in a tiger in a zoo, but I have not seen a report of it being proven in a housecat. Then the housecat would have to infect another human, and we would want to be sure that the human had not gotten the virus from another human (far more likely) than from the cat. It is possible in theory to study such things, but in practice most research is focused on the main pandemic at this point.
1 Recommendation
22nd Apr, 2020
Harasit Kumar Paul
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University
Theoretically, it is impossible to have higher immunity against the SARS-CoV2 virus (causative agent for COVID-19) among cat owners.
2 Recommendations
4th May, 2020
ISRAEL JOSHUA BARDE
National Veterinary Research Institute, Vom
SURE!
26th May, 2020
Chris Booker
University of Texas at San Antonio
Any study on this should control for presence of the toxoplasmosis parasite.
27th May, 2020
ISRAEL JOSHUA BARDE
National Veterinary Research Institute, Vom
THERE IS EVERY POSSIBILITY FOR THAT TO HAPPEN!
21st Jul, 2020
Mousumi Basu
Jadavpur University
I have read the news and seen the video in YouTube about the observations of Dr. Sabina Olex-Condo. Though the observation is in the very preliminary stage and needs further research but it seems very interesting from cross immunity point of view. Please share if you get any further information related to this.
25th Jul, 2020
Arvind Singh
Banaras Hindu University
25th Jul, 2020
Yehya A. Salih
University of Basrah
No, there is no studies refer to this topic.
I am responsible by a scientific group in my University, but cat and COVID19 is not my expertise; but I have interest in knowing and studying more. It is a very interesting curiosity. Cats and human biengs. It is a very interesting comment. I and my wife had COVID19, however, my daughter that is 30 years old, not. We live at the same house, and my daugther helped me and my wife during the terrible COVID19 days. My daugther has a cat, and many times the cat hurt her. Could the cat have to induce a protection in my daugther?
6th Sep, 2020
Mousumi Basu
Jadavpur University
Mario Bernardo-Filho,
may be your daughter has gained immunity against animal corona virus that exhibits "cross reactivity" against covid 19. This may be just a possibility, much more study and evidence are required to get hold of the actual fact.
19th Nov, 2020
Karen Ashton
University of West London
I had Covid 19 quite badly, back in March, and so did my cat, who caught it from me. Many of the people I know who have had Covid also had pets, some of whom also caught the virus from their owners. I've had close contact with cats all my life, so I doubt this is a factor in immunity, unless the cats in the Spanish study were not vaccinated against feline coronavirus, which most domestic cats in this country are, and that could possibly be a factor?
20th Nov, 2020
Marc-Andre Rousseau
Université de Montréal
I would say that there is a possibility that an infected cat would expose you to small doses of the pathogen allowing you to fight off the infection with allowing the infection to escape basic innate immunity. It could also be storing some memory for a future infection in the form of cellular immunity and so I definitely think it is possible. Not sure how frequent it would be but it is interesting. Cats are known vectors and so anyone who says that cats can't get it doesn't know what they are talking about. The question, however, is whether this can and will be shown via some experiment and I would say that the likelihood is small. You would need to willingly infect cats first (it could be that cats are more likely to play with children). Children would almost always be silent carriers since this virus is actually quite harmless to most people. Theoretically, the answer it is possible but in practice I am just not sure, an experiment would need to be setup. But to produce this effect the cat would need to be infected first and this is unlikely, i think.
7th Dec, 2020
Luis Felipe Dias Lopes
Universidade Federal de Santa Maria
I was doing a parallel research ... we have already reached 1000 interviews ... The results are spectacular... lflopes67@gmail.com (Brazil)

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