Health authorities in Denmark have found that a mutation of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 has spread from minks to humans, a potentially disastrous occurrence. The European nation is taking no chances and is planning to kill all roughly 17 million minks in the country as a result, Reuters reports.
In case you were wondering, Denmark is the world's largest exporter of mink furs. Killing all minks in the country could cost some $785 million, the Washington Post reports, with 207 out of 1,139 fur farms in the country already infected with the mutated coronavirus.
More than a million mink have already been culled as a result of the virus, according to the Financial Times.
"We have a great responsibility towards our own population, but with the mutation that has now been found, we have an even greater responsibility for the rest of the world as well," prime minister Mette Frederiksen told reporters on Wednesday, according to the Post.
Authorities found that the new virus strains showed lower sensitivity to antibodies. "The mutated virus in mink may pose a risk to the effectiveness of a future vaccine," the prime minister said.
"It is very, very serious," Frederiksen noted. "Thus, the mutated virus in minks can have devastating consequences worldwide."
Lab test findings have been shared with the World Health Organization and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
There have been repeated outbreaks of the coronavirus amongst minks in Denmark, with health authorities trying to cull those infected since June, according to Reuters.
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READ MORE: Denmark to cull entire mink population after coronavirus mutation spreads to humans [Reuters]
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