Veterinarian clarifies myths around COVID-19 and cattle


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A veterinarian with the WVU Extension Service is trying to shed some light on the theories that cattle are responsible for COVID-19, and that a solution to treating the virus rests in a bovine vaccine.

Darin Matlick, the vet, said cattle get the coronavirus but not the novel strain that is COVID-19. There are no confirmed cases of cattle contracting the virus or spreading the virus to humans. There simply is no correlation, Matlick said, because COVID-19 started in bats in China.

Another theory that has come to his attention, Matlick said, is that the existing cattle vaccine for the form of coronavirus that cows can contract should be used by humans.

“People should not take the bovine coronavirus vaccine because it is unsafe,” Matlick said. “There is also a coronavirus vaccine in dogs that you do not want to take because they’re not safe for humans. So that is something I’ve seen floating around, people talking about but absolutely that’s not going to provide you protection and it’s going to be harmful to you.”

Although you cannot contract the virus from cattle, that doesn’t mean you can’t contract other diseases from them. That is why Matlick said to always practice best sanitation methods like washing your hands and disinfecting your boots especially after being around fecal matter.

As mentioned earlier, it is widely accepted that the origins of the novel coronavirus are from bats and it wouldn’t be the first time the animals caused a viral outbreak Matlick said.

In 2003, Matlick said, SARS, another coronavirus, saw an outbreak which started in bats in Asia, then spread to cats before finally making it to humans. MERS, another form of the coronavirus, had an outbreak in 2012 that started in the Middle East as a result of bats as well

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