The spread of the corona virus in the mink hits the ‘scary buttons’, but experts urge you to remain silent

D.Alarm bells were set this week with the announcement that the country’s largest mink herd – the world’s largest – would be wiped out to stop the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in valuable fur species due to dangerous mutations.

Tabs between species of viruses make scientists nervous – as well as suggestions for significant mutations that may result from those tabs. In this case, Danish officials say they have discovered some genetic mutations that could undermine the effectiveness of the Kovit-19 vaccine currently in development.

But is this recent twist of the Kovit-19 Saga deeply troubling? Many experts who have consulted with STAT have suggested that the answer to that question is probably no.


Carl Bergstrom, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Washington, noted: “It strikes all the scary buttons. But Bergstrom and others have argued that when the interest in the virus that infects Minx is observed, it does not lead to a nightmare that is more effective at infecting people than the current human virus.

“I do not believe a strain that is suitable for mink would pose a greater risk to humans,” said Franோois Baloux, director of University College London.


“We can never rule out anything, but in principle it should not. It certainly should not increase the transmission. I do not see a good reason to make the virus more drastic,” he said.

What is known about the Danish situation is that inter-species jumps make scientists nervous, mutations can affect vaccine efficacy, and let’s see why Balox thinks this situation is “incredibly interesting”.

What is happening in the state of Denmark?

Denmark is the world’s largest mink producer; It produces 28% of the supply of these luxury furs.

Unfortunately, the mink is infected with the SARS-2 virus, which came to light in the Netherlands in April. Reported to have exploded Mink farms there. Affected humans working on farms transmit the virus to captive mines, which are suitable places for rapid spread of mink to mink.

Occasionally, mink affects people – an event recorded in both Netherlands And in Denmark. In a statement, The Davish Ministry of Environment and Food hopes that after the country detects mutations in viruses from electrons in its entire herd – estimated at about 17 million animals, those viruses will be able to avoid the immune defenses created by Govt. 19 vaccines.

Why do they think mutated viruses will avoid vaccines?

Experts outside the country have not made clear what the claim is. Marion Coopmans, head of virology at the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, said that despite some reports of recorded mutations, it was still not enough to support such a bold claim. Analysis has been performed on viruses from the Dutch Mink outbreak.

“This is a very big statement,” Coopmans said. “A mutation, I would not expect that dramatic effect.”

Emma Hodcroft, a molecular epidemiologist at the Society of Community and Preventive Medicine in Bern, Switzerland, says there are no genetic sequence data for external experts to study. But Denmark on Thursday uploaded 500 genetic sequences in databases open to scientists around the world, and is expected to add hundreds more in the coming days.

Experts will delve into those scenes that Danes is looking for, and will try to determine what impact these mutations might have if the viruses they contain can infect people.

For now, however, Hotcraft agrees with the Coopmans. “It’s a simple story of a mutation and all of your vaccines can’t stop working.”

He is obviously more interested in how the findings handled the announcement than themselves. “It puts scientists and the general public in a very difficult position when we have reports like this, and we have very little information or context for that,” Hodcraft said. “These things are never black and white.”

What are the creatures’ tabs anyway?

Species tabs always make scientists nervous. One such phenomenon is, above all, how we ended the Govt-19 epidemic.

Viruses that commonly infect one type of animal – let’s use bats as an example – detect that they are transmitting to another species that can trigger serious disease in new organisms if the virus is able to spread effectively. Viruses can take on new species – local -.

For example, the four corona viruses – relatives of SARS-2 – have caused the common cold in humans from other organisms at some point in the past. Influenza virus outbreaks – from chickens or pigs – occur from time to time. The 2009 H1N1 pandemic was triggered by an outbreak of the H5N1 virus in humans.

Bergstrom said people will be concerned about these events after many years of dealing with virus spillovers, such as previous corona virus tabs such as the Ebola outbreak, the flu pandemic and the 2003 SARS outbreak.

But this is a different situation, he said. It is not a virus unknown to humans who have jumped from an animal species. In this case, a virus that was already circulating among the population jumped into the mink and now occasionally jumps back.

Bergstrom believes it is prudent for the Danish government to cut off the Mink herd. But he did not know that changes in the Mink would make the virus worse for people.

“We are scared before an epidemic when it comes to any close species from distant creatures. Our intuition is not exactly what happens in the middle of an epidemic when it goes from us to distant creatures and then comes back,” he said.

Changes in the mink virus of Balox and others may be a sign that the virus is adapting to infect the mink – making the virus less effective for people over time.

Catching a spillover in real time

“Actually, very small,” says Balox, raising the risk of spillover to humans.

But real-time capture of what happens when a spillover occurs is exceptional, he said, listing the genetic changes from the beginning.

Usually when such events occur, only humans recognize what happens when a virus spreads among the population. For example, SARS-2 has never been observed to have the potential to spread from an unknown animal species to humans.

“It’s totally exceptional,” Balox said. “We always are [too] Of late. ”

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