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SEP 17, 2020 1:00 PM PDT

Keynote Presentation: SARS-CoV-2 Susceptibility, Transmission and Reinfection in Domestic Cats

C.E. Credits: P.A.C.E. CE Florida CE
Speaker
  • Regents Distinguished Professor at KSU, University Distinguished Professor, Director - Center on Emerging & Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (CEZID), NIH Center of Biomedical Research Excellence
    Biography

      Dr. Richt came to Kansas State University in 2008 as The Regents Distinguished Professor and Kansas Bioscience Eminent Scholar. In 2010, he became Director of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases (CEEZAD) and in 2020 Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Center on Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (CEZID). He received his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from the University of Munich and a PhD in Virology and Immunology from the University of Giessen, both in Germany. After coming to the United States in 1989, he completed three years of postdoctoral/residency studies at The Johns Hopkins University and later served for eight years as a Veterinary Medical Officer at the National Animal Disease Center (USDA-ARS) in Ames, Iowa. He has edited several books, published more than 250 peer-reviewed manuscripts and raised more than $50 million in grants for veterinary research. Dr. Richt is a pioneer in veterinary science, most notably in the “One Health” field.  His work on high consequence pathogens with zoonotic and transboundary potential led to strategies to identify, control and/or eradicate such agents. His basic and applied research includes studies on animal influenza viruses, animal prion diseases including bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), Rift Valley Fever virus (RVFV), African Swine fever virus (ASFV) and Borna Disease virus (BDV). Dr. Richt established the first reverse genetics system for swine influenza virus (SIV), and made seminal contributions to the development of a modified live SIV vaccine now sold in the U.S. as “Ingelvac Provenza™” and to understanding the virulence of the reconstructed 1918 “Spanish Flu” virus in livestock. He identified an atypical BSE case with a causative mutation (“genetic BSE”), used gene-editing approaches to develop the first prion protein knock-out cattle which are resistant to prion infection, and provided valuable information on host range of animal prions essential for risk analysis. Dr. Richt’s RVFV work led to the development of novel domestic and wild ruminant models for RVF and a safe, efficacious, and DIVA compatible subunit vaccine which is presently undergoing USDA licensure. For ASFV, he is developing subunit and modified live virus vaccine candidates as well as Point-of- Need diagnostics (PenCheckTM) to protect swine from this devastating disease. His recent work focused on the establishment of preclinical animal models for COVID-19 in cats, hamsters and ferrets. As founding Director of the DHS CEEZAD and the NIH CEZID Centers, he is supporting NIH, DHS and USDA in protecting public health and U.S. agricultural systems from devastating animal and zoonotic diseases.


    Abstract

    Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the cause of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and responsible for the current pandemic.  Here, we present an in-depth study of SARS-CoV-2 infection, associated disease, transmission and reinfection dynamics in domestic cats.  Six 4- to 5-month-old cats were challenged with SARS-CoV-2 via intranasal and oral routes simultaneously.  One day post challenge (DPC), two sentinel contact cats were co-mingled with the principal infected animals.  Animals were monitored for clinical signs, clinicopathological abnormalities (blood cell counts, serum biochemistry) and viral shedding throughout a 21 DPC observation period.  On 21 DPC, three cats were reinfected with SARS-CoV-2. Animals were sacrificed and post mortem examinations performed at 4, 7, 21 DPC and 4 days post second challenge (DP2C) to investigate disease progression in various organ systems and tissues.  Viral RNA was not detected in blood but transiently in nasal, oropharyngeal and rectal swabs in principal infected, sentinel and reinfected animals, as well as in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid at 4 and 7 DPC and in various organs/tissues of primary infected and reinfected animals.  Lung lesions associated with the presence of viral RNA and antigen were observed in primary infected cats on 4 and 7 DPC, but not on 21 DPC and 4 DP2C. Serology showed that both, principal and sentinel cats developed SARS-CoV-2-specific and neutralizing antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 starting at 7 DPC or 10 DPC, respectively. All animals were clinically asymptomatic during the course of the study; primary infected but not reinfected cats were capable of transmitting SARS-CoV-2 to contact animals within 2 days of comingling. The results of this study are critical: (i) for our understanding of the clinical course of SARS-CoV-2 in a naturally susceptible host species; (ii) for evaluating whether a SARS-CoV-2 infection can protect against reinfection; (iii) for the development of an alternative preclinical COVID-19 animal model; and (iv) for risk assessment of SARS-CoV-2 infections in felines and transmission to other animals and humans.

    Learning Objectives:

    1. Be aware of SARS-CoV-2 infections in companion animals

    2. How to diagnose SARS-CoV-2 infections in companion animals


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