India’s first Covid-19 vaccine for animals is here: How to keep furry friends corona-free

Initial studies could not correctly predict if animals, especially pets, could contract Covid-19.

covid vaccine for animals
Anocovax-induced immunity neutralises both the Delta and Omicron variants of the coronavirus. (Pixabay)

Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar has launched India’s first homegrown Covid-19 vaccine for animals. Developed by Haryana-based Indian Council of Agricultural Research-National Research Centre on Equines, Anocovax is an inactivated SARS-CoV-2 Delta vaccine for animals.

Anocovax-induced immunity neutralises both the Delta and Omicron variants of the coronavirus, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research said in a statement. The vaccine contains inactivated SARS-CoV-2 (Delta) antigen. It uses Alhydrogel as an adjuvant and is safe for dogs, leopards, lions, mice, and rabbits.

“It is due to the untiring contributions of scientists that the country stands self-reliant in developing its own vaccines more rather than importing. This is really a big achievement,” Tomar said following the virtual launch of the vaccine and diagnostic kits for animals.

Initial studies could not correctly predict if animals, especially pets, could contract Covid-19. Studies have since found that pets can contract the virus from their owners through close contact. But there is no evidence that humans can get Covid-19 from their pets.

Tomar also launched the CAN-CoV-2 ELISA kit to detect antibodies against the virus in canines. The CAN-CoV-2 is a sensitive and specific nucleocapsid protein-based indirect ELISA kit.

“There are no laboratory animals required for the preparation of the antigens. The kit is made in India and a patent has been filed for the same. No other comparable kits for detection of antibodies in canines are available in the market,” the Indian Council of Agricultural Research said.

The minister also launched the Surra ELISA kit, a diagnostic assay for Trypanosoma evansi infection in animal species.

Surra is among the most important haemoprotozoan diseases in livestock species caused by Trypanosoma evansi. The disease is prevalent in all agro-climatic parts of India. The council estimated the annual livestock productivity loss due to Surra in India at Rs 44,740 million.

The minister also launched the Equine DNA parentage testing kit, a powerful genomic technology for parentage analysis of horses.

With inputs from the Press Trust of India.

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