- The spread of the coronavirus (Sars-CoV-2) is very real in some mink farms, and could lead to the formation of other mutated, variant and worrying strains.
- The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) has called on countries to monitor certain animals and humans who come into contact with them.
Mink, rats, spaniels or ferrets … These animal species could be contaminated with a new strain of the coronavirus. And, according to the director of the British medical association Wellcome Trust Jeremy Farrar, these animals could transmit this new variant of the virus to humans within a few years.
In fact, for each virus species, there is a reference strain that corresponds to the first description of the virus. But there may be other more or less virulent strains. These vary the virus, which has other biological properties. So, in the future, another form of coronavirus could affect the human population.
Human cases contaminated with mutant strains of the coronavirus
This warning comes in a context in which many specialists are trying to warn about the risk of transmission to the human population of another dangerous strain of the coronavirus, present in mink. Indeed, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control considers this scenario to be possible and serious. Especially since the spread of the coronavirus (Sars-CoV-2) is very real in some mink farms, especially in Denmark, and could lead to the formation of other mutated, variant and worrying strains. In early November, Danish authorities announced that several hundred people had been infected with mutant strains of coronavirus from mink.
A new strain could limit the effectiveness of the future vaccine
For now, scientists at the Statens Serum Institut, which manages the outbreaks in Denmark, believe that most of the new strains are no more dangerous than the current virus. However, they warned that these could be of greater concern for the future.
“If they spread to Denmark or abroad, they could potentially have serious consequences on the protective effect of future vaccines,” the institute’s epidemiologists warned last week. They say further evaluation is needed to determine whether the mutated forms of the virus can interfere with the effectiveness of treatments or vaccines.
Avoid contact with certain animals as much as possible
The European Food Safety Authority (EASA) has reiterated the importance of people avoiding too close contact with farmed mink. The body also called for the strengthening of health surveillance measures in order to limit the risk of spread. The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) has called on countries to monitor certain animals and humans who come into contact with them. Mink and raccoon dogs are part of this list.
“The risk of sensitive animals, such as mink, becoming a reservoir for Sars-CoV-2 is causing concern around the world, as it could pose an ongoing threat to public health and lead to future contagion effects on the human body. “, says the OIE in a statement. The Danish government recently ordered all mink farmers in the country to slaughter their mammals, 17 million animals across the country.