Coronavirus Discovered In Mink Populations In 6 Countries, WHO Reports, Prompting Scientific Concern Over Viral Mutations

Fox News: WHO reports coronavirus discovered among mink populations in 6 countries
“Six countries have reported coronavirus cases among farmed mink, the World Health Organization announced. Italy, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands, and the U.S. join Denmark in noting the presence of the virus among mink farm populations, the WHO said in a statement. The concern over mink population infections arises from the recent discovery of mutations in the virus among farmed mink in Denmark…” (Aitken, 11/8).

New York Times: Covid Infections in Animals Prompt Scientific Concern
“…The versions of the virus that have mutated in mink and spread to humans are not more transmissible or causing more severe illness in humans. But one of the variants, found in 12 people so far, was less responsive to antibodies in lab tests. Danish health authorities worried that the effectiveness of vaccines in development might be diminished for this variant, and decided to take all possible measures to stop its spread…” (Gorman, 11/8).

STAT: Spread of mutated coronavirus in Danish mink ‘hits all the scary buttons,’ but fears may be overblown
“…Inter-species jumps of viruses make scientists nervous — as do suggestions of potentially significant mutations that result from those jumps. In this case, Danish authorities say they’ve found some genetic changes that might undermine the effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines currently in development. But is this latest twist in the Covid-19 saga reason to be deeply concerned? Several experts STAT consulted suggested the answer to that question is probably not…” (Branswell, 11/5).

Additional coverage of Denmark’s mink cull and concerns over human cases involving the mutated coronavirus is available from Health Policy Watch, Reuters (2), The Telegraph, and Xinhua.

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