Evelyn Kuhlmeier wins the 2023 Young Scientist Award
The 2023 ABCD Young Scientist Award, funded by Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health goes to Dr Evelyn Kuhlmeier (27), of the Zurich University Department of Clinical Diagnostics. She accepted her award during the congress of the International Society of Feline Medicine in Dublin in June 2023.
SARS-CoV-2 in companion and stray cats
Evelyn’s study examined the potential transmission routes for SARS-CoV-2 to animals, both in infected households and in free-roaming stray cats. A further aim was to determine the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in cats and to identify the risk factors for infection.
ABCD president professor Margaret Hosie congratulated the laureate, commenting: ‘Evelyn’s study demonstrates that the behaviour of owners and the living conditions of their cats can influence the likelihood of human-to-cat SARS-CoV-2 transmission. Her work is important in the context of a One Health approach, and is both impactful and practical, allowing vets to provide evidence-based advice to SARS-CoV-2-positive cat owners to avoid transmission of the infection.’
Cats of owners with COVID-19 should get ‘plenty of outdoor access’
Dr Evelyn Kuhlmeier added: ‘The knowledge of risk factors for the animals can help owners better protect their cats and prevent infections. For example, as a prophylactic measure, it might be useful to allow such cats plenty of access to the outdoors, as this reduces the time spent in a potentially infectious environment.’ Although cats are known to be susceptible to SARS-CoV-2, the knowledge of SARS-CoV-2 infections in pet and stray cats is still limited.
ABCD & Boehringer Ingelheim Young Scientist Awards
‘Our company is strongly committed to supporting independent research in the field of feline infectious diseases, and the Young Scientist Award represents a wonderful collaboration between Boehringer Ingelheim and the ABCD, said Dr Jean-Philippe Tronel, director of the global technical services for pet vaccines at Boehringer Ingelheim. ‘We warmly congratulate Dr Evelyn Kuhlmeier and encourage everyone to check out the previous winners, most of whom are still very active researchers contributing to the health of our beloved cats.’
The Young Scientist Award, created in 2008, is presented annually to young scientists in veterinary or biomedical sciences, who have made an original contribution in the field of feline infectious diseases and/or immunology.