By August 31, 2021, any person holding captive mink in Oregon must vaccinate all captive mink on their premises against the SARS-CoV-2 virus using an approved vaccine according to all vaccine manufacturer instructions. Any captive mink born or imported after August 31, 2021 must be vaccinated within 120 days of the birth of any captive mink, or within 60 days of the date that any captive mink are imported into Oregon.
SURVEILLANCE TESTING FOR SARS-COV-2 IN MINK
Any person holding captive mink in Oregon must participate in surveillance testing for SARS-CoV-2 according to guidelines established by the Oregon Department of Agriculture in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
** We know that vaccines don’t prevent transmission of, or infection by, the Delta variant of Sars-CoV-2. It’s unlikely that vaccinating mink will prevent mutations of the virus being created either. Not destroying these animals is a huge and unnecessary risk to humanity. Ed.**
Shi Zhengli, China’s ‘Bat Woman’, has said that new variants of Sars-Cov-2 will continue to emerge, but that vaccines are ‘effective’. “We shouldn’t panic, but we need to prepare to co-exist with the virus in the long term,” Shi told media on Wednesday.
Mike McCaul’s final report on the origins of the pandemic can be downloaded here.
A House Republican lawmaker’s investigation into the origins of COVID-19 is raising concerns that the pandemic outbreak stemmed from a genetically modified virus which leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the Chinese city where the disease was first detected in December 2019.
Researchers find signs of Covid-19 mutations in NYC sewage, pointing to possible dog and rat infections. After months of testing and re-testing, they found four combinations of COVID mutations that, when compared to a global database of more than 2.5 million sequenced variants, had not been seen before. The four variants are at least somewhat antibody-resistant, which could reduce the effectiveness of vaccines, the researchers found.
As with other animals, COVID-19 could be infecting dogs and rats, leading to new mutations and an outbreak in New York City’s sewers. While animal-to-human transmission of the virus is exceedingly rare, it has been seen in the U.S. in minks
These lineages contain mutations rarely observed in clinical samples, including Q493K, Q498Y, H519N and T572N. Many of these mutations were found to expand the tropism of SARS-CoV-2 pseudoviruses by allowing infection of cells expressing the human, mouse, or rat ACE2 receptor.
Antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 were detected in 33% of the 481 samples collected from January 2020 through 2021. None of the deer populations surveyed showed signs of clinical illness associated with SARS-CoV-2. Results of the study indicate that certain white-tailed deer populations in Illinois, Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania were exposed to SARS-CoV-2.
It is important to note that this surveillance was designed to determine exposure of deer to SARS-CoV-2 in their natural environment. It was not designed to determine whether the deer were replicating and shedding SARS-CoV-2.
The Biorxiv preprint of the deer study does contain two interesting paragraphs that refer to Sars-CoV-2 positive tests in white tailed deer in 2019 and early 2020:
“Antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 were detected in 40% of the 2021 surveillance samples (Table 1). Antibodies were also detected in three samples from 2020 and one sample from 2019. No detections were observed in samples from 2011-2018. The results from the sVNT screening showed high concordance with those obtained by VNT (Table 1). Specifically, 24/24 of 2021 detections and 24/24 of 2021 negatives were concordant for sVNT compared to VNT.
Most of the positive samples from 2021 had percent inhibition values between 80-100% while the 2019-2020 positive samples had relatively low percent inhibition values (30.03-43.72, Figure 1). Percent inhibition scores ≥30 are considered positive for this assay. Low percent inhibition could represent potential waxing/waning immunity, non-specific antibody binding, or cross-reactivity from exposure to unknown endemic coronaviruses. The three positive samples from 2020 were collected in January, very early in the pandemic. In fact, the majority of the 2020 samples that were available for testing were from January-March, with only 21 samples collected later in the year, 20 of which were collected in October from a single location. Consequently, we have limited information on prevalence over time in 2020.
Two more mink have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus from a Fraser Valley, British Columbia, farm already under quarantine from positive tests in May. In this instance, four mink had escaped their cages and were captured on the farm.
As a result of the new infections, a moratorium has been placed on any new mink farms in B.C., with a cap on existing mink farms at current numbers.
Three B.C. mink farms have had animals test positive since December 2020. “All three remain under quarantine, with no mink being moved to or from the properties.”
“I don’t think we should underestimate the fact that we could get into trouble again surprisingly fast”
The UK Government’s top medic has warned the number of people in hospital with coronavirus could reach “quite scary” levels within weeks and new coronavirus restrictions in England could be needed in just five weeks.
Chris Whitty’s stark warning came just days before has warned just days before Boris Johnsons’ ‘Freedom Day’ on Monday (July 19). The Chief Medical Officer sounded the alarm over a potential “scary” growth in hospitalisations which could leave the NHS “in trouble again surprisingly fast” once restrictions are lifted.
“Despite national, regional, and global efforts, the pandemic is nowhere near finished. Strong likelihood for the emergence and global spread of new and possibly more dangerous variants of concern that may be even more challenging to control.”
The pandemic remains a challenge globally with countries navigating different health, economic and social demands. The Committee noted that regional and economic differences are affecting access to vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics. Countries with advanced access to vaccines and well-resourced health systems are under pressure to fully reopen their societies and relax the PHSM. Countries with limited access to vaccines are experiencing new waves of infections, seeing erosion of public trust and growing resistance to PHSM, growing economic hardship, and, in some instances, increasing social unrest.
As a result, governments are making increasingly divergent policy decisions that address narrow national needs which inhibit a harmonized approach to the global response. In this regard, the Committee was highly concerned about the inadequate funding of WHO’s Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan and called for more flexible and predictable funding to support WHO’s leadership role in the global pandemic response.
The Committee noted that, despite national, regional, and global efforts, the pandemic is nowhere near finished. The pandemic continues to evolve with four variants of concern dominating global epidemiology. The Committee recognised the strong likelihood for the emergence and global spread of new and possibly more dangerous variants of concern that may be even more challenging to control.
The Committee expressed appreciation for States Parties engaging in research to increase understanding of COVID-19 vaccines and requested that clinical trial volunteers not be disadvantaged in travel arrangements due to their participation in research studies. At the same time, the risk of emergence of new zoonotic diseases while still responding to the current pandemic has been emphasised by the Committee. The Committee noted the importance of States Parties’ continued vigilance for detection and mitigation of new zoonotic diseases.
The Committee unanimously agreed that the COVID-19 pandemic still constitutes an extraordinary event that continues to adversely affect the health of populations around the world, poses a risk of international spread and interference with international traffic, and requires a coordinated international response. As such, the Committee concurred that the COVID-19 pandemic remains a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) and offered the following advice to the Director-General.
Zvimba villagers in Zimbabwe are living in fear as their cattle are dying in large numbers with some suggesting that they could be dying from COVID-19.
Some villagers who spoke to Pindula News said the mortality rate was high in Kutama village.
Asked if Veterinary officers were assisting them, they said the officers were clueless. Said, one villager:
_They are clueless. They are also surprised._
Meanwhile, a study “Experimental Infection of Cattle with SARS-CoV-2” conducted by Lorenz Ulrich, Kerstin Wernike, Donata Hoffmann, Thomas C. Mettenleiter, and Martin Beer of Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, Insel Riems, Germany, observed that under experimental conditions, cattle show low vulnerability to SARS-CoV-2 infection.
The Oakland Zoo in California has vaccinated tigers, Black bears, Grizzly bears, mountain lions and ferrets against COVID-19 this week and is poised to inoculate chimpanzees, fruit bats and pigs. The animals are being given experimental doses of the Zoetis vaccine, said Dr. Alex Herman, vice president of veterinary services at Oakland Zoo. The company is donating 11,000 doses to 70 zoos across the United States.
In Denmark, SARS-CoV-2 variants co-circulating in mink and humans collectively acquired at least 35 different amino acid changes in the spike protein. These SARS-CoV-2 variants belong to lineage B.1.1.298. The receptor binding domain (RBD) substitution Y453F, also observed among Dutch farmed mink, appeared in the first transmission Cluster in June. A two-amino acid residue deletion (ΔH69/V70) in the N-terminal domain appeared together with the Y453F in August 2020 and occurred in the subsequent Clusters 2, 3, and 4. A new variant, termed Cluster 5, with two additional amino acid substitutions, i.e., I692V downstream of the transmembrane protease serine 2 (TMPRSS2)/furin cleavage site and M1229I within the transmembrane domain, was identified in September 2020 on 5 mink farms and in 12 human cases (age: 7–79 years; symptoms: asymptomatic to mild).
Given the potential of this variant to spread among humans, as observed for other mink-associated variants, and an increased risk of antigenic alterations with the multiple spike changes, it was deemed necessary to do a rapid evaluation of this “Cluster 5” variant in vitro. To aid timely public health responses, Statens Serum Institut released a preliminary report on 10 November 2020. A more detailed evaluation of this Cluster 5 variant and its in vitro fitness and neutralization potential is presented here.
The World Wildlife Fund has renewed its calls for American mink farms in Spain to be closed down following the news that another four outbreaks of Covid-19 have been identified at establishments in the Galicia province of A Coruña.
These latest outbreaks bring the total at mink farms in Spain up to 9, including 7 in A Coruña, and the WWF welcome the news that the issue is on the agenda for the current meeting of the European Agriculture and Fisheries Council (AGRIFISH). The organization continues to petition for the forced closure of the 25 mink farms in Galicia, due not only to the proven link between the species and the spread of coronavirus but also to the threat the invasive species represents to native wildlife.
According to the WWF, the Spanish authorities have been slow to take action regarding mink farms, not tightening the controls and checks at these establishments until late last year in contrast with the rapid reactions of other European governments, such as those of the Netherlands and Denmark.
Australian scientists have described how they used high-performance computer modelling of the form of the SARS-CoV-2 virus at the beginning of the pandemic to predict its ability to infect humans and a range of 12 domestic and exotic animals.
Surprisingly, the results showed that SARS-CoV-2 bound to ACE2 on human cells more tightly than any of the tested animal species, including bats and pangolins. If one of the animal species tested was the origin, it would normally be expected to show the highest binding to the virus.
“We also deduced that some domesticated animals like cats, dogs and cows are likely to be susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection too.”
Study: In silico comparison of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein-ACE2 binding affinities across species and implications for virus origin
The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus outbreak has been detected in two mink farms in the Biała Podlaska district (eastern Poland), the Chief Veterinary Officer informed. This is the second outbreak of COVID-19 in mink in Poland.
“The outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 was detected in two farms with a total of 8,000 female and 29,000 young mink, located at the same address in the Biała Podlaska district,” an announcement on the General Veterinary Inspectorate website stated.
The presence of the virus was detected on the basis of the laboratory test results carried out at the State Veterinary Institute in Puławy (eastern Poland). The samples for farm research were collected on June 16. “In the above-mentioned farms, samples were taken from 20 mink (40 swabs in total). In the case of 3 animals, the results were positive,” the press release said.
“All minks from farms where the virus has been confirmed will be put to sleep and disposed of,” Paweł Piotrowski, Lubelskie province head veterinarian stressed.
Image by Dzīvnieku brīvība – Baltic Devon Mink 09, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=87445687
** The fur farming industry, in particular the mink industry, threatens the entire world with a storm of deadly new Sars-CoV-2 mutations. It must be closed to prevent further outbreaks which could become uncontrollable **