Weekly News Roundup 3/6 to 3/12


World’s first cloned cat dies

CC, the world’s first cloned cat, has passed away at the age of 18 after being diagnosed with kidney failure. CC, short for Copy Cat, passed away March 3 in College Station, Texas, the same place where her life began as a result of groundbreaking cloning work done by Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) researchers. CC was born December 22, 2001, and was adopted by Duane Kraemer, DVM, a senior professor in the college’s Reproduction Sciences Laboratory, six months after her birth. “We in the CVM are saddened by the passing of CC. As the first cloned cat, CC advanced science by helping all in the scientific community understand that cloning can be effective in producing a healthy animal,” said Eleanor Green, DVM, DACVIM, DABVP, the dean of veterinary medicine at Texas A&M.” . . . more

From ferrets to mice and marmosets, labs scramble to find right animals for coronavirus studies

One lab is digging into its freezer to thaw out the archived sperm of SARS-susceptible mice. Another is anesthetizing ferrets so they don’t sneeze when the new coronavirus is squirted into their nostrils. Yet others are racing to infect macaques, marmosets, and African green monkeys. Those animals could prove critical for understanding how COVID-19 works—and for concocting vaccines and treatments to stop its sweep. Every day, it seems another company announces an attempt to make its own virus-fighting vials. But to test an experimental formulation, scientists can’t just jump from Petri dishes into people. They need to try it in critters first, to check that the stuff is safe and effective. . . . more

Dog in wheelchair and fat cat on diet among pets trying out to be the new Cadbury Bunny

Cadbury is branching out from bunnies. The candy company is looking to replace its famous floppy-eared mascot with a new animal. To find the perfect fit, Cadbury put out a casting call to all pets across the United States. More than 4,000 animals entered the Cadbury Bunny tryouts; the company has now narrowed down those entries to 10 finalists. Animal lovers have until March 18 to vote for their favorite of the 10 pet participants and are allowed to vote once a day until the deadline. Cadbury will announce the winner on March 24 and donate $10,000 to The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in the winner’s name. . . . more

People are stealing masks and other sterile supplies from hospitals and research facilities

People are stealing face masks and other health equipment from hospitals and other facilities where their existence is necessary amid the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the US. Shira Doron, MS, MD, an infectious disease physician and hospital epidemiologist at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, said she had witnessed thefts of masks and other protective equipment from high-trafficked areas in her facility. Stories of hospital mask theft have also been posted to social media. The issue is not limited to the US—Canada reported instances at two hospitals where workers had to intervene to prevent people from stealing masks. . . . more

Study reveals the secret wanderings of 900 house cats

The goal of the massive international Cat Tracker project was simple: find out where pet cats go when they’re outside. Researchers have tried to tackle this question in the past, either by following cats on foot (good luck!) or by putting radio transmitters on collars around cats’ necks. But Cat Tracker was singular in its scale—nearly 1,000 cats across four countries wore GPS trackers for a week to shed light on how far they range and where they go. . . . more

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