The Covid-19 mutation noticed in mink and which had spread to humans at the end of August has not been noticed since September 15. But more than 10 million animals have been killed.
A human-transmissible mutation of the coronavirus in mink in Denmark, considered problematic because it could potentially threaten the effectiveness of a future vaccine, is “very likely extinct”, the Danish Ministry of Health said Thursday.
“No other case of the mutation from Cluster 5 mink has been detected since September 15, which is why the Institute in charge of infectious diseases (ISS) considers that this mutation is very likely extinct,” writes the ministry in a statement, announcing the lifting of most restrictions in the affected region.
In place since November 5, these restrictions, drastic according to Danish criteria (limitation of travel, closure of bars, cafes and restaurants in particular), concerned seven municipalities in North Jutland and 280,000 people. They were initially scheduled to last until December 3.
More than 10 million animals slaughtered
The detection of this mutation had prompted Denmark to order the slaughter of its entire herd of more than 15 million mink. All mink in the affected area have been culled and the slaughter of the remaining animals is underway. To date 10.2 million animals have already been killed across Denmark.
With three times more mink than inhabitants, the small Nordic kingdom is the world’s largest exporter, and second largest producer behind China, with turnover in the sector of around 670 million euros. However, the animal prized for luxury furs poses problems in the fight against Covid-19: it can not only contract the disease, but also reinfect humans.
SSI has identified four other mutations originating in mink but which do not present the same problem as cluster 5, which had been detected in 12 people in August and September.
According to the ministry, the results of virus sequencing in North Jutland between October 26 and November 8 show that 20% to 28% of all samples sequenced were positive for a mutation from mink, compared with 43 to 52% of samples from the previous two weeks.
Posted today at 13:28