There have now been more than 60,000,000 confirmed coronavirus infections globally and the infection rate is still increasing.
Seven countries are now reporting mink-related Sars-CoV-2 mutations in humans, according to new scientific analysis.
The mutations are identified as Covid-19 mink variants as they have repeatedly been found in mink and now in humans as well.
Uncertainty around the implications of the discovery of a Covid-19 mink variant in humans led Denmark, the world’s largest mink fur producer, to launch a nationwide cull earlier this month.
The cull was sparked by research from Denmark’s public health body, the Statens Serum Institut (SSI), which showed that a mink variant called C5 was harder for antibodies to neutralise and posed a potential threat to vaccine efficacy.
Denmark, the Netherlands, South Africa, Switzerland, the Faroe Islands, Russia and the US have all reported cases of mink-related mutations.
In light of the contagion of a mutated variant of the coronavirus from mink to people in Denmark, the (Iceland) Food Administration intends to start screening for coronavirus on the country’s mink farms. It is not suspected that coronavirus infection has occurred in mink farms in Iceland.
When there were reports of coronavirus infection from people in mink this summer, the Food Administration sent a recommendation to Icelandic mink farmers about stricter infection control on the farms and that individuals with disease symptoms stay away from them. Suspicion of mink disease must be reported to the Food Administration. These recommendations have been regularly reminded, but no notifications have been received. If infection is detected on the farm, further measures will be examined in consultation with the health authorities.
Yesterday, the Danes announced cuts in all mink farms in Denmark due to coronavirus infections that spread from mink to humans. This is a mutated variant of the virus that is thought to have originated in humans from mink. Vaccines that are developing against the coronavirus are not likely to be mutagenic variants of the virus. There is a small chance of infection in the wild mink population, where contact with humans is minimal. In Iceland, there are 9 mink farms in the north-west and south of the country with a total of 15,000 farms.