- The Washington Times - Friday, November 6, 2020

The World Health Organization is investigating the biosecurity of mink farming globally after Denmark ordered its entire herd to be killed to try to contain a mutated form of the coronavirus that has spread to humans.

Maria van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead for COVID-19, on Friday said the transmission of the virus between animals and humans is a “concern,” but that mutations in viruses are normal, Reuters reported.

“These types of changes in the virus are something we have been tracking since the beginning,” Dr. van Kerkhove said. “We are working with regional offices … where there are mink farms, and looking at biosecurity and to prevent spillover events.”

Minks appear to be much more susceptible to coronavirus infection than other farm animals, according to the health agency.

Denmark this week announced plans to cull its entire population of 15 million-17 million minks and implemented strict new lockdown measures in the north of the country to halt the mutated coronavirus’ spread from animals to humans.

The mutations have raised concerns about the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines currently in development.

Denmark’s State Serum Institute, an agency that handles infectious diseases, has discovered mink-related versions of the coronavirus in 214 people since June. But one strain of the mutated coronavirus has been found only in 12 people on five mink farms to date.

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.

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