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AFP: Transmission of the coronavirus from mink to humans doesn’t necessarily mean the disease will become more dangerous, but scientists are on their toes following a stunning announcement from Denmark.Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said on Wednesday the country would kill more than 15 million mink and that a variant of the Sars-Cov-2 virus that had been transmitted from animals to 12 people could impact the effectiveness of a vaccine.

However, specialists are not convinced that the danger is much greater and are waiting for more proof.

“I really wish the trend in press release science would stop,” commented Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Columbia University in New York.

“There is no reason why genomic data cannot be shared, which would allow the scientific community to assess these claims,” ​​she added on Twitter.

Let’s aim at farmer Stig Sørensen’s estate where all mink are to be slaughtered due to a government decision on November 7, 2020 in Bording, Denmark. Photograph: Ole Jensen / Getty Images

Viruses like the one that emerged in China at the end of last year are constantly mutating, and the newer variants aren’t necessarily worse than the previous ones.

So far, no studies have shown that the newer variants of Sars-Cov-2 are more contagious or dangerous than their predecessors. Contamination of mink is not new either, with breeders in several countries, including the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the United States, reporting cases.

A few cases of humans infected with mink have also been reported.

Denmark was specific in describing how the different strains of the virus passed from mink to humans.

“According to information from the Danish authorities, this virus is neither more pathogenic nor more virulent,” specialist Gilles Salvat from the French health agency Anses told AFP.

There are fears, however, that a variant “emerges as a second virus and dominates the population,” he noted.

“Developing a vaccine for one strain is already complicated, and if we have to do it for two, four or six strains, it is even more complicated,” noted the specialist.

He viewed the decision to slaughter the Danish mink as a “precaution”.


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