World’s Expert on Coronaviruses Happens to be a Veterinarian, Dr. Niels Pedersen Is Optimistic


with Dr.Niels Pedersen

Veterinarians know stuff. Dr. Niels Pedersen, distinguished professor emeritus at the University of California Davis School of veterinary medicine is one of the planet’s experts on coronaviruses. LISTEN HERE to a fascinating conversation from Steve Dale’s Other World, WGN Radio with Dr.Pedersen about COVID-19, caused by Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS Co-V-2).  It turns out Dr. Pedersen is responsible for much of the knowledge we have about coronaviruses in the first place, not to mention a drug to help treat people with COVID-19, called Remdesivir.

Dr. Pedersen begins by explaining what coronaviruses are in the first place, and how various mammal species are infected by coronaviruses, often species specific.  But coronaviruses are “shape shifters” and do mutate, and periodically jump species. In any case, veterinary medicine has been dealing with coronaviruses for decades and decades and has a thorough understanding, which human medicine should arguably acknowledge.

Remdesivir Story

If it wasn’t for Dr. Pedersen, the Winn Feline Foundation (now called the EveryCat Health Foundation) and most of all cats with feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) caused by the feline coronavirus, it’s likely Remdesivir would not have been thought about to treat COVID-19.

Dr. Pedersen tells the Remdesivir story (HERE in more detail).

People treated with Remdesivir around the globe should be sending Dr. Pedersen, the EveryCat Health Foundation, and most of all domestic cats a thank you note.

Omicron Story

Dr. Pedersen explains four species of corona viruses are responsible for the common cold, and Omicron may have a similar impact as it’s been humanized – or at least that is the hope.

Dr. Pedersen agrees that Omicron may be begun in another species and has evolved to adapt better to humans causing less significant disease, and he says “it looks like it’s now happening.” There’s some evidence that we will have to live with Omicron forever, although we can live with Omicron or at least most people can. Still, Omicron is not benign and vaccination is a very good idea, as we vaccinate against the influenza virus.

If anyone has a crystal ball of understanding regarding coronaviruses, it is Dr. Pedersen.  I was moderating a Symposia on FIP in November 2019, as Dr. Pedersen pretty much predicted a coronavirus pandemic.