The vaccine has been tested on dogs, cats, mink, foxes
Russia announced Wednesday it had registered what it said was the world’s first coronavirus vaccine for animals, describing the step as important to disrupting mutations.
It said mass production of the vaccine could begin in April.
The agriculture oversight agency Rosselkhoznadzor said in a statement that the vaccine called Carnivak-Cov had been tested beginning October on dogs, cats, mink, foxes and other animals and was proven to be effective.
“All test animals that were vaccinated developed antibodies to coronavirus in 100% of cases,” said Konstantin Savenkov, deputy head of Rosselkhoznadzor.
“It is the world’s first and only product for preventing Covid-19 in animals,” he said.
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 statement said.
The agency added that animal-breeding facilities and private companies from countries including Greece, Poland, Austria, the United States, Canada and Singapore had expressed interest in Carnivak-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.
Russia has heavily promoted its state-sponsored coronavirus vaccine abroad but it has been met with scepticism in the West and even by many in Russia.
Officials registered the Sputnik V vaccine last August, ahead of large-scale clinical trials, sparking concern among many experts over the fast-track process. It has since registered two more vaccines.
Leading medical journal The Lancet has since confirmed Sputnik V to be safe and over 90% effective.
Moscow has applied to Europe’s medicines regulator to gain approval for the use of Sputnik V in the 27-nation bloc, but is still waiting for an answer.