The veterinary healthcare sector in Cyprus has recently obtained its initial supply of anti-Covid pills, repurposed from a human stockpile, as part of an escalated effort to curb the propagation of a potent strain of feline coronavirus that has resulted in the demise of numerous cats.

Commencing on August 8th, which is globally recognized as International Cat Day, the nation’s health ministry initiated the dispensation of this treatment, marking a potentially pivotal moment in combatting the ailment that has afflicted the feline population of the Mediterranean country.

Christodoulos Pipis, the head of the government’s veterinary services, conveyed, “We have taken delivery of 500 crates of medication. This batch represents the first installment of 2,000 packages that will ultimately be accessible. Each package contains 40 capsules, equating to a grand total of 80,000 [anti-Covid] pills.”

The allocation of these medications has been prompted by a concerning upsurge in cases of feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) within Cyprus, caused by the feline coronavirus. When left untreated, FIP typically proves fatal.

Dubbed the “FCoV-23 outbreak,” this virus initially came to notice in Nicosia, the capital city of Cyprus, in January. Within a span of three to four months, it had disseminated throughout the entirety of the island, as reported by the Pancyprian Veterinary Association (PVA).

Experts from the University of Edinburgh, in collaboration with the PVA, delved into this outbreak, revealing that the number of confirmed FIP cases, verified through polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, surged by a factor of 20 within a mere 12-week period when juxtaposed with the previous year.

Heading the University of Edinburgh’s team, Dr. Charalampos Attipa, a senior lecturer specializing in veterinary clinical pathology, expounded, “Our research is primarily focused on pinpointing the potential mutation that has engendered this highly virulent strain of FCoV.”

While the mutated feline virus is unrelated to Covid-19 and cannot be contracted by humans, molnupiravir, the active ingredient found in anti-Covid pills, has demonstrated efficacy in aiding cats diagnosed with FIP.

Originating in the feces of infected felines and propagated through contact, feline coronavirus was initially documented in the 1960s. Prior incidents of FIP, though infrequent, have manifested in the UK, US, Taiwan, and Greece, primarily within catteries.

Cyprus, however, has witnessed a notably intensified and infectious manifestation of the virus, with even exclusively indoor cats succumbing to its effects.

By admin