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Yesterday, the Greek media presented a study from Spain that blamed domestic dogs for transmitting SARS-CoV-2 to humans due to the walk they take. Research has shown that during the first locksmiths in Spain, dog walkers who walk them are 78% more likely to catch a coronavirus while if they stay with a carrier of the virus at home they have 60% and if they order food from the supermarket through delivery have a 94% chance.
We turned to Konstantinos Kyriakis, Professor of Virology and Infectious Diseases at Auburn University School of Veterinary Medicine in the USA, who is a member of the Centers of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance (CEIRS) of the National National Institutes of Health and conducts research focusing on the molecular mechanism of transmission of influenza viruses from animals to humans, the development of new technology vaccines against influenza and other viral diseases, while also participating in the SARS surveillance network. CoV-2 in animals in the US under the auspices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Regarding the study, Dr. stressed. Kyriakis: “The authors of the study make a basic scientific mistake because they came out with a statistical correlation between possession and walking a dog and increased cases of coronavirus, they came to the arbitrary assumption that the cause of infection was the dog and walking the dog. They did not take into account dozens of other factors that may actually increase the risk of transmitting the coronavirus, such as the fact that the dog guard during the walk has a significant chance of encountering and exposing the virus to humans, compared to a human who does not have a dog and does not leave his home so often during the implementation of restrictive measures at the peak of the first epidemic wave.
The claim that the dog itself is the cause of the coronavirus transmission is scientifically funny. And it’s even funnier than the dog brings the coronavirus with its paws into a house. No transmission of the coronavirus through the foot of a dog or human shoe has been recorded. I dare say that this study has many and important scientific errors and omissions, and its conclusions are not sufficiently documented “.
As explained by Dr. Kyriakis in SKAI.gr “SARS-CoV-2 may have emerged from animals, from bats and we may have had the means of an intermediate host, the pangolin, but now it is a purely human virus. This means that 99.99999% of infections are human-to-human.
The possibility of transmission from pets to humans is infinitesimal. On the contrary, it is much more likely that humans will get stuck in their pets. According to published experimental studies, under certain conditions and after exposure to high viral load, SARS-CoV-2 can multiply to low levels in cats and even lower levels in dogs. This means that pets, even if infected by humans / their guardians, do not produce enough viruses to contribute to the further spread of the virus. For example, when there are five people and two cats living in a house, people can catch the cats, the cat is practically very difficult to catch the man. “The five people will get stuck together, the chances of them getting stuck by the cat are extremely low.”
However, there is an exception in animals and specifically in fur animals: “Of course, the exception is the breeding of fur animals. This is because we have a really confirmed transmission from these animals to humans. Specifically, mustards (mink, weasels, etc.) are relatively vulnerable to the coronavirus and we have experimental studies showing that the virus multiplies adequately in these animals and is effectively transmitted between them. ». However, the professor noted that even in fur-bearing animals, their breeding conditions play a decisive role: “In fur-bearing farms, you have a cabin and 5,000 animals. So as one can understand you have a lot of animal contacts with each other. So much higher chance of transmission and very high production of the virus, that is, an environment is formed loaded with the virus that the animals will exhale. So there can be transmitted to humans. In Denmark, we recently had a coronavirus strain that passed from man to mink, evolved and mutated into mink, and then returned to the man. We know this because we have a complete analysis of the genome of the virus that emerged in the fur. We do not know exactly what impact these mutations may have on public health if they can make the virus more contagious, make it more pathogenic, or change the antigenicity of the virus and make vaccines less effective. This is something we need to study carefully. But because the emergence of a new genetic branch of the virus can have adverse effects on public health,
According to Skai.gr, Dr. Kyriakis emphasizes that this Spanish study is of extremely poor quality and it is arbitrary to talk about an important role that pets can play in the transmission of the coronavirus: “In the mink, there is indeed a possible problem. “As a veterinarian who studies the mechanism of transmission of viruses from animals to humans, I can say with great certainty that it is scientifically wrong to charge pets an important role in the ecology and spread of SARS-CoV-2 in humans.” “We are talking about animals that are not the natural carriers of the virus, the natural carrier of the virus is humans and we do not have a large number of animals in a small space. The chances of them playing a significant role in transmitting the virus are almost non-existent. We need to understand that the virus is purely human, It is at least extreme to be afraid that dogs or cats will catch a coronavirus. And where will the dog and cat catch the coronavirus? He must come in close contact with a human being. Who does he come in close contact with? With his guardian. “Do you know a dog that will go to the neighbor’s bed, sleep with him and then come back to pass the virus to his guardian?” The professor added.