Scientists warn that the coronavirus mutation detected in Danish weasels could cause a new wave of disease in the country.
Authorities in Denmark – the world’s largest producer of mink feathers – say five cases of new virus infections have been recorded on mink farms and 12 in humans.
The mutation shows a decrease in sensitivity to antibodies, which means it could make the COVID-19 vaccine less effective, experts say.
Professor Kare Molbak, vaccine specialist and director of infectious diseases at the Danish State Serum Institute, said: “The worst case scenario is that we will start a new pandemic in Denmark.
“There is a risk that this mutant virus is so different from others that we have to put new things into the vaccine and thus [the mutation] will beat us all back to the original world. “
The Scandinavian nation on Wednesday announced that it would destroy its 17 million weasel populations because of the new strain of the virus.
Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said at a press conference: “We have a great responsibility for our population, but with the mutation found, we have even greater responsibility for the rest of world”.
An outbreak of weasel farms has persisted throughout the country despite efforts to destroy infected animals since June.
Danish police, military and home guards will be deployed to accelerate the murder process, Frederiksen said.