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Covid cat study creeps forward on little paws

Friday, April 22, 2022 by Tai Moses

City Council has approved a $65,000 grant to fund a study on coronavirus in cats. The Austin Humane Society and Austin Animal Center, partnering with Texas A&M and the Texas Department of State Health Services, will examine whether there are coronaviruses “circulating or mutating among animals that could potentially pose a risk to humans.” AHS’ Dr. Katie Luke said in a news release, “There is still a lot we don’t know about coronavirus and how it mutates, so we hope this study will help to identify best practices moving forward, and help understand potential sources of mutated viruses that affect human health.” How will it work? “The subjects for the study will come from Travis County’s Community Cats program, and will only contribute a throat swab during their spay/neuter procedures. After that, “The samples will be sent to Texas A&M, where experts will determine if coronavirus is present. If the virus is detected, they will run more specific tests to identify whether it’s feline coronavirus, SARS CoV-2, or a different coronavirus. Positive samples for SARS CoV-2 will be sent to the National Veterinary Diagnostic Lab for confirmation and gene sequencing to identify if there are mutations. Finally, the Texas Department of State Health Services will assist in reporting the findings to the CDC.”

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