By Tony Winterburn • 22 November 2020 • 20:26
French Farmers Cull Almost 1,000 Mink after Positive COVID Tests as Outbreaks in Denmark, Sweden, Greece and the Netherlands Continue.
French Farmers have been forced to cull up to 1,000 animals at a mink farm in western France after Covid tests came back positive as similar cases in Denmark, Sweden, Greece and the Netherlands continue to rise.
It comes after officials ordered large swathes to be culled in northern Denmark where a new Covid-19 variant originated. Already, 17million mink were euthanized earlier this month in a bid to stomp out the strain before it became widespread. Cases in mink have also been reported elsewhere in Europe, notably in Sweden, Greece and the Netherlands.
A French Ministry spokesman said: ‘At this stage, tests have shown the virus circulating in an Eure-et-Loire farm.
‘A second farm is unscathed. Tests are still underway in the last two farms, with results expected during the week.’ The new Covid-19 variant — called Cluster 5 — caused global panic after it was found to be resistant to antibodies, substances made by the body to fight off infections. It was feared Cluster 5 would be able to slip past promising new Covid-19 vaccines, which work by stimulating an antibody response. Scientists from around the world are now looking at the variant and its hoped further spreads can be avoided.
Scientists share data
The Danish genome sequences were recently released on a public database, allowing scientists in other countries to search for evidence of the mutation. Prof Wim van der Poel, a veterinary expert at Wageningen University, said analysis of genetic data from the Netherlands revealed one previous case of the mutation at a mink farm in early May.
He said: “We have once seen a mutant virus with a comparable mutation in the spike protein-encoding region, in mink in the Netherlands, but this mutant did not spread to humans and the mink of the involved farm were culled.” The Netherlands launched a widespread cull of mink after signs, in a small number of cases, that humans had picked up coronavirus from mink.
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