Danish fur farmers say they've been dealt a major blow after the world's largest mink fur exporter chose to cull all 15 million minks in Denmark's farms, to minimise the risk of them re-transmitting coronavirus to humans - a decision that has also raised eyebrows among health experts.
"Specific virus from "cluster 5" has been detected with four simultaneous changes in the genes for the "spike protein" in five North Jutland mink farms and in 12 patient samples", said the SSI.
Speaking at a news conference on Wednesday [November 4], Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen announced that they reached the decision with a "heavy heart" after recommendations from health authorities.
Denmark is taking aggressive action to stop the spread of coronavirus outbreaks on mink farms that have now seemingly jumped back into humans.
"To prevent further changes to the virus emerging among minks and the spread of mink-related viruses, the Danish authorities have announced that culling of all farmed mink in Denmark will commence immediately". "The government and I are painfully aware of what this means for all the Danish mink breeders who are about to lose their livelihood and for some, their life's work".
Several animals - including dogs and cats - have tested positive for the virus and there have been reported cases at mink farms in the Netherlands and Spain, as well as in Denmark.
Forbes reported it is not clear how other major mink-farming countries such as China and Poland have been affected or whether these countries will take similar action as Denmark. We already knew that #SARSCoV2 can transmit from minks to humans.
"However, there is no evidence that those people infected with this mutation experience a more serious disease".
Ryan said mammal species like mink were "very good hosts" but that health officials were still a "long, long way away" from any determination on the mutation's impact on a vaccine.
Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO's COVID-19 technical lead, said during a media briefing that the organization is looking at the biosecurity of mink farms with its regional offices in Europe, the Western Pacific and the Americas.
Medical experts were also puzzled by the Danish claim of a mutated virus.
Denmark is the world's largest producer of mink fur. About 200 coronavirus cases overall can be traced to exposure from mink in Denmark.
In seven North Jutland municipalities, the estimated 280,000 residents were on Thursday urged to stay within their municipal borders to limit the spread of infection. Their skin is exported at a price between 25 and 30 euros per unit.