The 2020 US presidential election has almost completely eclipsed every other news story on the planet this week, as the already arduous contest moves into it’s third full day, and at razor-thin margins. But that doesn’t mean that other big stories aren’t still out there, like COVID-19, the pandemic that is now having a resurgence in the United States unlike anything we’ve seen in 7 months.
Experts and medical scientists are moving forward swiftly with their work on a vaccine for the illness, while simultaneously testing and applying new treatment possibilities as well. And while this work all seems very promising at the moment, there are concerns that a mutation in the virus could nullify what work they’ve done.
That’s where Danish mink farmers come in.
A Danish vaccine specialist has warned that a new wave of coronavirus could be started by the Covid-19 mink variant.
“The worst-case scenario is that we would start off a new pandemic in Denmark. There’s a risk that this mutated virus is so different from the others that we’d have to put new things in a vaccine and therefore [the mutation] would slam us all in the whole world back to the start,” said Prof Kåre Mølbak, vaccine expert and director of infectious diseases at Denmark’s State Serum Institute (SSI).
He added, however, that the world was in a better place than when the Covid-19 outbreak began.“We know the virus, have measures in place including testing and infection control, and the outbreak will be contained, to the best of our knowledge.”
The possibility of such an event had mink farmers making tough decisions.
Denmark, the world’s largest mink producer, said on Wednesday that it plans to cull more than 15 million of the animals, due to fears that a Covid-19 mutation moving from mink to humans could jeopardise future vaccines.
Announcing the cull, the country’s prime minister, Mette Frederiksen, said 12 people were already infected with the mutated virus and mink are now considered a public health risk, based on advice from the SSI.
Despite the concerns over the newly mutated strain, officials in Denmark made it clear that they would not be “the new Wuhan”.
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