Group 5: Should we fear this viral mutation observed in animals?

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Last June, a variant of SARS-CoV-2 that is currently actively circulating in many countries was detected in patients in Denmark. Since then, other countries have reported the presence of this virus mutation in mink farms.

Research continues to uncover the exact origin of the Covid-19 virus, which has been actively circulating around the world for several months. Scientists fear that the virus could mutate or other types of coronaviruses that affect humans and create a new epidemic.

In this sense, a US study warned last October about a coronavirus derived from "swine acute diarrhea syndrome (SADS-CoVs)", which could potentially be transmitted to humans.

A variant of SARS-CoV-2 transmitted by farm minks?

More recently, it is a variant of the SARS-CoV-2 associated with the mink identified in Denmark that is causing concern.

In a statement published at the beginning of November, the World Health Organization (WHO) warns of the existence since June 2020 in Denmark of human cases of Covid-19 that present "variants of SARS-CoV-2 associated with farmed minks , including 12 cases with a single variant. "

While the severity and modes of transmission between infected individuals appear at first glance relatively comparable to other known forms of SARS-CoV-2, "preliminary results indicate that this particular mink-associated variant, identified in both mink and in the 12 human cases, it presents a moderately reduced sensitivity to neutralizing antibodies ", explains the WHO.

In the group of special cases, called "Group 5", the patients are between 7 and 79 years old and eight of them have some connection to the mink farming industry, according to the statement.

Since then, five more countries (the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Italy and the United States) have reported the presence of germs in farmed minks. The risk would be that people in contact with infected minks could in turn transmit this virus within the population.

Therefore, public health actions have been launched in Denmark, such as the slaughter of more than 17 million farmed minks and the reinforcement of the surveillance of the local population to detect cases of coronavirus as soon as possible.

"Recent findings reported by the Danish Public Health Authority (Statens Serum Institut) in Denmark regarding the new SARS-CoV-2 variant identified in humans need to be further confirmed and evaluated to better understand any possible implications. In terms transmission, clinical presentation, diagnosis, therapy and vaccine development, "says the WHO.

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