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Denmark, the world's leading producer of mink fur, will slaughter around 15 million specimens raised in its territory due to a covid-19 mutation that would have already spread to 12 people, which threatens the effectiveness of a future vaccine for humans .

"The virus mutated through mink could represent a risk that future vaccines (against covid-19) will not work as they should," Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said Wednesday during a press conference with health officials.

"All the minks have to be slaughtered


" he

added, representing between 15 and 17 million animals, he said.

A mutation in a virus is normal, and a mutation does not mean that it will behave differently, according to scientists.

Furthermore, determining the specific consequences of a mutation is complex.

But although this mutation does not aggravate the complications caused by the coronavirus in humans, the Danish authorities consider that it is characterized by a lower efficacy of human antibodies, which threatens the development of a coronavirus vaccine.


Continuing to raise these minks would pose a very high risk to public health

, both in Denmark and abroad," warned the head of the Danish Infectious Disease Control Authority (SSI), Kåre Mølbak.

The mutated virus detected in mink "does not respond as much to antibodies as the normal virus. Antibodies always have an effect, but not as effective," he said.

According to Health Minister Magnus Heunicke, "Research has shown that mutations can affect current projects for a vaccine against covid-19."

"It is a threat to the development of vaccines against the coronavirus, so we must carry out a national campaign," he insisted.

This mutation was identified on five different farms.

The 12 cases of human transmission of the mutated virus were detected in North Jutland (west), where most of the breeding sites are concentrated.

However, they are no longer carriers, according to SSI.

"A black day"

Denmark is the world's largest exporter of mink fur, an activity that has made the fortune of more than 1,000 farms in the small Nordic kingdom.

After the first cases of coronavirus were detected in mink, the government launched a vast campaign to kill minks this summer in infected hatcheries, which was extended in October due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic in numerous hatcheries.

By Monday, authorities had already slaughtered more than 1.2 million animals.

The government promised compensation to the breeders.

The sector employs some 6,000 people

in this country of 5.8 million inhabitants.

"It is a black day for all of us and for Denmark," said Tage Pedersen, president of the Association of Mink Breeders, in a statement.

"Of course we do not want to be the cause of a new pandemic ... but the government's decision is a disaster for our industry and for Denmark. It is in fact a permanent closure and liquidation of the fur industry. ", said.

Spain minks were also slaughtered

A good student of the management of the pandemic with 729 deaths so far,

Denmark faces a sharp increase in cases

and tightened measures since the end of October.

The authorities indicated that on Thursday they will announce new restrictions in the region affected by this mutation to stop its advance.

Tracking the new cases in the region made it possible to identify a mink farm as the source of the contamination, according to authorities.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, several suspected cases of transmission of mink to humans have been recorded, particularly

in the Netherlands, where more than a million of these mammals have been killed.


Spain minks were also slaughtered in July

, but there was no national campaign.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO),

"in some cases, minks infected by humans transmitted the virus to other people

. They were the first reported cases of transmission from the animal to man," the institution explained to AFP, without making a statement. in detail about the mutation in Denmark.

According to the police, the animals must be slaughtered "as soon as possible", but no deadlines were indicated.

According to the criteria of The Trust Project

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