Denmark will cull all the 17 million minks in the nation for risky mutant COVID-19

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Denmark will cull all the 17 million minks in the nation for risky mutant COVID-19 - We The World
Photo by Jo-Anne McArthur on Unsplash

The world’s biggest producer of minks, Denmark said Wednesday it will cull all of the nation’s mink population, an estimated 17 million of them, after a mutant new strain of the novel coronavirus was spotted in the farms.

The flabbergasting report comes after the nation says it has spotted a mutant strain of COVID-19 in its mink farms and has been reported to threaten human transmission.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen told a press conference that is necessary to cull all the country’s mink because they could pose a threat to the upcoming new COVID-19 vaccines as they may not work as intended, AFP reports.

The Danish authority said muted virus are not as much inhabited by antibodies as much normal viruses are.

The decision to cull all the country’s minks come after on October 1 million of the furry mammals were culled because coronavirus kept spreading in the mink farms across the nation and too few farmworkers, We The World reported earlier.

Denmark’s police chief Thorkild Fogde said the task to cull some 15-17 million minks spread across over 1k farms all over Denmark would be a daunting task, but the process will be done as soon as possible.

It appears minks — raised for their prized fur — is more vulnerable to the novel coronavirus than many other species of animals, whereas instance of other animals contracting the disease is prevalent but are few.

A special protein present in the lungs of these semi-aquatic animals binds the virus and apparently increases the vulnerability of an infection.

In July, 100,000 minks were reported to have been culled after a massive COVID-19 outbreak hit Spain’s Aragón province. The same reason to ‘avoid human transmission’ was cited for the reason for a mass culling.

Apart from mass culling, thousands of minks have died in regions that raise these animals like the Netherlands and Utah. These animals show symptoms like respiratory distress.

Speaking about animals-to-human transmission the WHO says human-to-human transmission is the primary mode the COVID-19 virus transfers host, but there are instances of animal-to-human transmission.

“In a few instances, the minks that were infected by humans have transmitted the virus to other people. These are the first reported cases of animal-to-human transmission,” the WHO said in a statement sent to AFP.

Current data suggest SARS-CoVI-2 or the virus that causes COVID-19 can infect a certain animal like cats, and dogs, among others, but when it comes to these animals spreading the virus to humans, it remains unclear.

But the question is – can animals spread COVID-19 in humans?

As of now, no, with a hint of ‘what if.’

As per the data on the novel virus in hand, the microbe is of zoonotic origin, meaning the virus was born somewhere in animals ( a bat, widely assumed in case of COVID-19) and that animal infected the first human, leading to a chain-reaction of infection, today which is a pandemic.

CDC notes that the first infection of COVID-19 was linked to bats at a wet market in China’s Wuhan city in Hubei province – the outbreak epicenter.

The top American public health body also notes that with the limited data at hand regarding animals can diffuse the coronavirus in humans actively is a low chance.

But one more fact noteworthy is that a sick COVID-19 patient can potentially infect an animal, instances of which have been seen before, CDC notes.

For instance, a tiger in New York Zoo was the first known case of an animal to contact and test positive for the novel coronavirus.

Current data suggest SARS-CoVI-2 or the virus that causes COVID-19 can infect a certain animal like cats, and dogs, among others, but when it comes to those animals spreading the virus to humans, it remains unclear.

Limited research has been done on animals to trace the pattern in which COVID-19 transmits between animals has found several animals become infected with the virus and even spread it to the same species in a laboratory setting. In the case of the big cats, ost of them which tested positive for the virus in the past have recovered.

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