A mutated COVID-19 strain that spread on Danish mink farms is 'most likely' extinct, authorities say, as Ireland starts its own mink cull
- A variant of
COVID-19that spread on five minkfarms in Denmarkand infected 12 people is "most likely" extinct, Danishauthorities said Thursday.
- Two weeks ago, Denmark ordered the cull of its entire mink population after it was found the mutated variant may weaken the effects of a COVID-19 vaccine.
- The cull has sparked a political crisis after the government admitted it lacked a legal basis. One minister has resigned.
- No cases of the variant have been detected since September 15. But other mink farms in the country may remain infected with other strains of COVID-19, the country's infectious diseases body said.
- On Thursday, authorities in Ireland told all mink farms in the country to cull their minks, with the country's chief medical officer ordering it "as a matter of urgency."
A mutated strain of COVID-19 that spread on mink farms across Denmark is "most likely" extinct, the country's infectious diseases body the State Serum Institute (SSI) announced Thursday.
Earlier in November, Danish authorities ordered the cull of all minks in the country after COVID-19 outbreaks were linked to some of the 1,200 Danish mink farms. The country has an estimated 17 million minks.The mutated strain could potentially weaken the effects of a future COVID-19 vaccine, authorities said at the time, and the country's top epidemiologist said that in a "worst-case scenario, the pandemic will restart, this time in Denmark."
"Therefore, we now assess that this variant is most likely no longer in circulation," Tyra Grove Krause, the head of the institute's infection epidemiology and prevention department, said Thursday.However, some mink farms may still remain infected with COVID-19 beyond the cluster 5 mutation.
The number of mink farms infected with the virus increased in both the Central Jutland and Southern Denmark regions in early November, the SSI said, reaching 284 by November 18.Since then, all minks on farms in these areas have been killed, the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration (FVST) said, but it noted that there are still 25 farms suspected to have unconfirmed cases of COVID-19. "There is also a continuing increase in the number of COVID-19-infected people associated with mink production in the two regions," the SSI said.
Nationally, the proportion of COVID-19 cases in humans that came from mink is falling, the institute said. In late October, this proportion fell from 6% to 5%, it said.
The remaining 900 mink farms that didn't have COVID-19 cases among their populations had until midnight Thursday to cull their animals, The Guardian reported.Read more: CEOs of 5 top pharma and biotech companies share how coronavirus is permanently transforming the drug industry
On Wednesday, Denmark's Food and Agriculture Minister resigned after the government admitted it had no legal basis for ordering the mink cull. Opposition parties are calling for Prime Minister
As Denmark's mink crisis, sometimes referred to as "minkgate," rages on, a new mink cull in the Republic of Ireland has begun.On Thursday, authorities told all mink farms in the country to cull their minks, with the country's chief medical officer ordering it "as a matter of urgency."
That same day, Sweden's health agency said some people who work on mink farms had tested positive for the
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