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Black-Footed Ferrets Immunized Against COVID-19


Black-footed ferrets, brought back from extinction in 1979, have been preemptively immunized against COVID-19 using a suspension of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein donated by a biologics company.  A total of 120 of the 180 ferrets housed at the USDI Black-Footed Ferret Conservation Center, located near Fort Collins, CO, are now presumably protected based on their antibody response.  The remaining 60 ferrets were not vaccinated as a precaution in the event of an adverse reaction.  There are 300 black-footed ferrets in captivity and 400 have been reintroduced to the wild. Vaccination was implemented based on the demonstrated susceptibility of mink and laboratory ferrets, both related species to SARS-CoV-2 virus, resulting in high mortality.

Endagered Black-footed Ferrets

USFWS National Black-footed Ferret Conservation Center