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First detection and molecular analysis of SARS-CoV-2 from a naturally infected cat from Argentina
Veterinary Microbiology  (IF3.293),  Pub Date : 2021-07-08, DOI: 10.1016/j.vetmic.2021.109179
Nadia Analía Fuentealba, Gastón Moré, María Emilia Bravi, Juan Manuel Unzaga, Lorena De Felice, Marcos Salina, Mariana Viegas, Mercedes Soledad Nabaes Jodar, Laura Elena Valinotto, Fernando David Rivero, David Di Lullo, Marcelo Pecoraro, Carlos Javier Panei

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the etiological agent of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), has rapidly spread worldwide. Studies of transmission of the virus carried out in animals have suggested that certain animals may be susceptible to infection with SARS-CoV-2. The aim of the present study was to investigate the infection of SARS-CoV-2 in pets (18 cats and 20 dogs) from owners previously confirmed as COVID-19-positive. Oropharyngeal and rectal swabs were taken and analyzed by real-time RT-PCR assays, while blood samples were taken for antibody detection. Of the total pets analyzed, one cat was found reactive to SARS-CoV-2 by real-time RT-PCR of an oropharyngeal and a rectal swab. This cat presented only sneezing as a clinical sign. Serological analysis confirmed the presence of antibodies in the serum sample from this cat, as well as in the serum from another cat non-reactive to real-time RT-PCR. Complete sequence and phylogenetic analysis allowed determining that the SARS-CoV-2 genome belonged to the B.1.499 lineage. This lineage has been reported in different provinces of Argentina, mainly in the Metropolitan Area of Buenos Aires. This study notifies the first detection of the natural infection and molecular analysis of SARS-CoV-2 in a cat from Argentina whose owner where COVID-19-positive. Although there is currently no evidence that cats can spread COVID-19, results suggest that health authorities should test pets with COVID-19-positive owners.