The World Health Organization on Friday eased concerns about a mink mutant strain of coronavirus after Denmark ordered the killing of millions of animals.
The international public health agency said it was monitoring the spike, which is a “concern”, but it is too early to say whether it poses any risks to humans or will. loss of the impact of a potential vaccine.
Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO’s Medical Emergency Program, said in a virtual press conference: “These things happen like that, this is a global pandemic and millions have been infected, millions of animals are exposed. from Geneva.
“As of now, the evidence we have doesn̵7;t suggest that this variant has any difference in how it works … it’s still the same virus.”
On Thursday, Denmark announced new stringent lockdown measures in the country’s northern districts, home to most of the mink farms, after authorities discovered the mutant strain in area.
On Wednesday, the government said it would destroy all weasels – up to 17 million – to prevent human infection with the mutant coronavirus, which health authorities say could be more resistant to. with future vaccines.
Ryan says mammals like weasels are “very good hosts” but health officials still have “a long, long way” with any decision on the mutant’s impact on vaccines. please.
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The WHO also said it is looking into biosafety in other countries with mink to “prevent spills”, adds Maria van Kerkhove, WHO technical team leader on Covid-19. that the risks from pets and other pets are generally low. .
“Mutation is normal,” said Van Kerkhove. “These kinds of changes in the virus are something we’ve been watching from the start.”
The Danish State Serum Institute, which specializes in infectious diseases, said the mutant strain of the coronavirus that caused mink destruction was found in 12 people and in 5 mink farms until now on.
In a report published Wednesday, the institute said laboratory tests showed the new strain had mutations on its so-called mutant protein, invading and infecting healthy cells. strong. That poses risks for the Covid-19 vaccine in the future, based on the deactivation of the mutant protein, it says.
In the United States, nearly 10,000 weasels on nine fur farms in Utah have died of Covid-19, veterinarian Dean Taylor told NBC News last month.
The deaths have forced the affected farms to be quarantined when an outbreak is investigated.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.
Minyvonne Burke contributed.