CATS AND CORONAVIRUSES: ONE HEALTH IN THE AGE OF COVID-19
Stout, Alison E.
Feline coronavirus (FCoV) circulates widely in feline populations and is associated with two common disease outcomes: mild to inapparent gastrointestinal disease or the lethal, systemic disease, feline infectious peritonitis (FIP). Anecdotally, FCoV has been associated with upper respiratory disease and a previous case report of FIP highlighted FCoV presence in the nasal cavity. Following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become apparent that cats are susceptible to infection with SARS-CoV-2, but many questions remain regarding clinical outcome. The work presented here investigates the association of FCoV, along with other common feline pathogens, with respiratory disease in two shelter environments. Further work provides serological evidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in cats presenting to a New York City animal hospital. Lastly, rodent and bat coronaviruses were analyzed in regards to the presence of furin cleavage sites. A defining feature of SARS-CoV-2 is the presence of a furin cleavage site, which is unique among the Sarbecoviruses. However, Embecoviruses circulate in rodent populations and nearly always contain an S1/S2 furin cleavage site, which may have important zoonotic implications. While bats are recognized as an important coronavirus reservoir, human coronaviruses OC43 (HCoV-OC43) and HKU1 (HCoV-HKU1) both have rodent origins. FCoV, likewise contains an S1/S2 furin cleavage site and loss of the furin cleavage site is associated with the severe form of the disease. Coronaviruses identified in rodents commonly have S1/S2 furin cleavage sites. Understanding Coronaviridae in other animals allows for a One Health approach for future associated challenges.
Whittaker, Gary R.
Mehta, Saurabh; Aguilar-Carreno, Hector; Van de Walle, Gerlinde
Biomedical and Biological Sciences
Ph. D., Biomedical and Biological Sciences
Doctor of Philosophy
dissertation or thesis