April 29, 2020 / 5:28 PM / a month ago

False claim: Dog coronavirus vaccine could work for COVID-19

An image shared online has wrongly suggested there is a vaccine for COVID-19 due to the existence of one for canine coronavirus ( here ).

The photo shows a vaccine called Nobivac Canine 1-Cv, which prevents canine coronavirus, a disease that causes mild gastroenteritis in dogs ( here , here ).

The text accompanying the image reads: “Now this was 2001 tell me why 19 years later they say there is no vaccine.”

Dr. Hannah Peel, a British veterinary surgeon in Sheffield, told Reuters that “simply put, the vaccine wouldn’t work against COVID-19 as it is not for the same virus.”

The coronavirus disease responsible for the current pandemic is called COVID-19, and the virus that causes it is called SARS-CoV-2, or severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. The vaccine in the image protects against a specific canine coronavirus, not SARS-CoV-2. ( bit.ly/35e2yBZ )

The World Health Organization (WHO) states that coronaviruses are a family of viruses that can cause illness in humans or animals. According to Peel, viruses grouped into such families have things in common, but that they are not the same.

In humans, coronaviruses which cause respiratory infections range from the common cold to more serious conditions like Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) ( here ).

Even if a vaccine was found for one coronavirus it would still not be effective at preventing COVID-19. “Cats also have a vaccine against coronavirus, and pigs have two - reiterating the fact that even for an individual species, one vaccine will not protect against all coronaviruses,” Peel said.

“Vaccines available for animals also haven’t been tested for safety in humans so it could be harmful - at best it would be ineffective and at worst it would be dangerous,” she added.

VERDICT

False. The vaccine Nobivac Canine 1-Cv protects against canine coronavirus and not SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts here  .

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