Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, SARS-CoV-2 infections in domestic cats have caused concern for both animal health and the potential for inter-species transmission. Cats are known to be susceptible to the Omicron variant and its descendants, however, the feline immune response to these variants is not well defined. We aimed to estimate the current seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in UK pet cats, as well as characterise the neutralising antibody response to the Omicron (BA.1) variant. A neutralising seroprevalence of 4.4% and an overall seroprevalence of 13.9% was observed. Both purebred and male cats were found to have the highest levels of seroprevalence, as well as cats aged between two and five years. The Omicron variant was found to have a lower immunogenicity in cats than the B.1, Alpha and Delta variants, which reflects previous reports of immune and vaccine evasion in humans. These results further underline the importance of surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 infections in UK cats as the virus continues to evolve.
© 2023 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Tyson, G., Jones, S., Montreuil-Spencer, C., Logan, N., Scott, S., Sasvari, H., McDonald, M., Marshall, L., Murcia, P., Willett, B., Weir, W. & Hosie, M. 2023, 'Increase in SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence in UK domestic felids despite weak immunogenicity of post-Omicron variants', Viruses, 15(8), article no: 1661. https://doi.org/10.3390/v15081661