Saturday, November 7, 2020

Spread of mutated coronavirus in Danish mink ‘hits all the scary buttons,’ but fears may be overblown

 
Mink are seen at a farm in Gjol, Denmark. HENNING BAGGER/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty Images

Helen Branswell
Stat News

Denmark set off alarm bells this week with its announcement that it is culling the nation’s entire mink herd — the largest in the world — to stop spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the prized fur species because of potentially dangerous mutations.

Inter-species jumps of viruses make scientists nervous — as do suggestions of potentially significant mutations that result from those jumps. In this case, Danish authorities say they’ve found some genetic changes that might undermine the effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines currently in development.

But is this latest twist in the Covid-19 saga reason to be deeply concerned? Several experts STAT consulted suggested the answer to that question is probably not.  Read more >>