Mink hits ‘scary buttons’ to spread coronavirus but experts urge calm

Mink hits 'scary buttons' to spread coronavirus but experts urge calm

DThe alarm bell is raised this week with the announcement that the country’s largest mink herd is fixing the world’s largest mink herd – the world’s largest – to prevent the spread of the SARS-Cove-2 virus to valuable fur species due to potentially dangerous mutations.

Inter-species jumps of the virus make scientists nervous – as they suggest potentially significant changes resulting from the jumps. In this case, the Danish authorities say they have found some genetic changes that could currently weaken the effectiveness of the Covid-19 vaccine.

But is this recent turn in the Kovid-19 saga deeply troubling? Some experts advised STAT that the answer to that question may not be.


Carl Bergstrom, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Washington, noted, “It all hits scary buttons. But Bergstrom and others argued that by looking deeper into the virus that infects mink bears, it leads to the strain of the human dream that is more effective at infecting people than the current human virus.

“I do not believe that the stress of accepting a dip lowers the risk to humans,” said Francois Boulex, director of the Genetics Institute at University College London.


“We can never rule anything, but in principle it should not be. It should definitely not increase the transmission. I don’t see any good reason why this should make the virus more serious, “he said.

Let’s take a look at what is known about the Danish situation, why inter-species jumps make scientists nervous, whether mutations affect vaccine effectiveness, and why Boulex believes the situation is “amazingly interesting.”

What is happening in the state of Denmark?

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Denmark is the world’s largest mink producer; It produces about 28% of the supply of this luxury fur.

Unfortunately, mink is susceptible to the SARS-2 virus, a fact that came to light in April when the Netherlands The report exploded There at Mink Farm. Infected humans who work on farms transmit the virus to captive mink, which is kept in nearby quarters for rapid transmission from mink to mink.

Occasionally, mink infects people – an event reported in both The Netherlands And in Denmark. In a statementThe Danish Ministry of Environment and Food said the country would slaughter its entire livestock – an estimated 17 million animals – after it had converted from mink to a virus that it believed would avoid the immunity generated by the virus covid. 19 vaccines.

Why do they think the mutated virus will stay away from the vaccine?

It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post. Some information about the recorded changes has been published, but so far it is not enough to support such a bold claim, said Marion Copemans, head of virology at Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, where many Dutch mink outbreaks have been analyzed.

“That’s a very big statement,” Coopmans said. “One change, I don’t expect it to have a dramatic effect.”

Outside experts do not use genetic sequencing information, said Emma Hodcroff, a nuclear pathologist at the Institute for Social Prevention and Prevention Medicine in Bern, Switzerland. But Denmark on Thursday uploaded 500 genetic sequences into open databases for scientists around the world, and is expected to add hundreds more in the coming days.

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Experts will focus on the sequence that Danes is looking for in what he saw and try to determine what effect this change would have if the virus in it had infected people.

For now, though, Hodcroft agrees with Coopman. “It never happens that it’s such a simple story of a change and all your vaccines stop working.”

It is, obviously, more concerned with how the ad was handled than the findings it found itself. “It puts scientists and the public in a really difficult position when we have such statements, for which we have very little information or reference,” Hodcroff said. “These things are never necessarily black and white.”

What is the big thing about species jumping?

The variety of jumps always makes scientists nervous. One such incident, after all, is how we ended up with the Kovid-19 epidemic.

Viruses that usually infect one type of animal – let’s use bats for example – can cause serious illness in a new species if the virus is able to infect effectively if it finds a way to enter another species. The virus can spread to new species – local.

For example, four coronaviruses – cousins ​​of SARS-2 – are thought to have caused the common cold to spread from humans to humans from other species at some point in the past. The incidence of flu virus spillovers – from poultry or pigs – occurs periodically. The 2009 H1N1 pandemic began when people became infected with the swine flu virus.

“After years of facing viral spillovers such as the flu pandemic like the Ebola outbreak, the previous coronavirus jumps like the 2003 SARS epidemic, people think these events are worrying,” Bergstrom said.

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But this is a different situation, he said. It is not a virus unfamiliar to humans that has jumped from animal species. In this situation, a virus that has already adapted to spread among the people has gone to the monks and is now occasionally jumping back.

Bergstrom thinks it’s prudent to shut down the Danish government’s mink mob. But he’s not sure if the changes in mink make the virus worse in humans.

“When something from a distant species comes to a nearby species, we get scared before an epidemic. Our intuition is not entirely appropriate for what happens in the middle of an epidemic when something goes from us to a distant species and then comes back. ”He said.

Boulex and others suggested that the changes seen in the mink virus could be a sign of a virus infecting the mink – which will make the virus less effective in people over time.

Capturing spillover in real time

Boolox poses a risk of causing a spillover to be “really, really small” in humans.

But he said being able to capture in real time when a spillover occurs is exceptional, and charting genetic changes from scratch.

Usually when such events occur humans only walk when the virus is adapted to spread among the people. For example, the initial changes that enabled SARS-2 to infect humans from still unknown animal species have never been seen.

“It’s completely exceptional,” said Baloo Uxe. “We are always there [too] Of late


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