Some researchers are concerned about the potential for a pandemic in Denmark’s otter new coronavirus variant, while others say more research is needed before the current COVID-19 vaccine candidate can be effective against the new strain,media BGR reported. The Danish government has previously announced that it will cull up to 17 million otters to prevent the new coronavirus variant from infecting more people – a variant of the virus that has infected at least 12 people.
It’s unclear how dangerous the mutation is for vaccine research, but researchers from Denmark have begun sharing genome sequences of the otter mutation.
Recently, the Danish government announced that it will kill as many as 17 million otters in the country, effectively destroying the entire mink fur industry in the country, shocked the world. Officials chose this radical approach because of the potentially dangerous mutation of the new coronavirus in captive otters. Danish media reported that the mutated new coronavirus has infected at least 12 people. Researchers worry that the new strain could be so dangerous that it could effectively de-effect the current COVID-19 vaccine candidate. Now, a new report brings more trouble because some researchers believe the mutated new coronavirus strain has the potential for a pandemic. Others, meanwhile, called for calm.
“At worst, we’re going to have a new pandemic in Denmark, ” Professor Kåre Mølbak told the Guardian. “There’s a risk that this mutated virus is so different from other viruses that we have to add something new to the vaccine, so it’s going to hit us all over the world back to where we started.” Mølbak is a vaccine expert and director of infectious diseases at the Danish National Serum Institute (SSI).
“We know there are measures in place to deal with the virus, including testing and infection control, and as far as we know, the outbreak will be contained,” the expert added. However, after those 12 people were infected with the mutant virus, otters were considered a public health risk, as recommended by SSI.
Allan Randrup Thomasen, a virologist at the University of Copenhagen, told the Guardian that there were still risks in the country. “This variant could develop so much that it’s completely resistant, and then the vaccine doesn’t matter, ” the professor said. “So we need to take the variation out of the equation. So it’s serious. Thomsen told local media that Denmark should close the mink farm because of its risks.
The researchers haven’t fully detailed the mutation and need more data. However, a Dutch virologist has provided some details about the new coronavirus mutation in otters. “It seems that the otter mutation was found in the prickly glycerin of the Sars-Cov-2 virus, but we don’t really know,” Wim van der Poel told the newspaper. “We don’t know what kind of vaccine we’re going to have. So more research is needed. “
He said countries should avoid allowing the virus to spread in otters and other animals, such as slugs and moths, even if there is no mutation. “We assume that it is also a risk in the Netherlands, but our fur farming industry has been phased out. After the end of this year, there is no fur production. “If the virus frantically spreads in these animal populations,” you’ll have a ‘cistern’ in our local wildlife, and we could be re-infected even before we get a good vaccine. “
Earlier this year, the Dutch government was one of the first countries to order the culling of otters when it became clear that the animals could infect pathogens and transmit them to humans.
Researchers don’t know if the mutated new coronavirus can spread well to humans, but 12 people infected in Denmark have reason to be concerned. Ian Jones, a virologist at the University of Reading, explained to the Guardian that the virus had to adapt in animals to get into cells. Therefore, it will “modify the hedgehog glycoprotein so that this happens effectively”.
He continued: “The danger is that the mutated virus could spread back into the body and evade any vaccine response, which was originally designed for the original, non-mutant version of the hedgehog, rather than adapting to the otter version.” “
Finnish experts believe that Denmark’s decision to cull all otter populations in farms is too extreme. Instead, they recommended control measures that were already effective at home. None of Finland’s 150 mink farms are considered COVID-19.
For other experts, Stat points out, concerns that mutated viruses may pose a higher risk to humans may be exaggerated. It may be too early to draw conclusions about the Danish coronavirus strain identified by the local government, and there are still many unknowns. Outside experts have yet to come into contact with genetic sequencing data. But Denmark has uploaded 500 gene sequences to a database open to researchers on Thursday and will upload more.
The researchers told Stat that a single mutation may not be as dangerous, and that early detection of mutations is good news — things that are usually not discovered until they spread more widely. The best example is SARS-CoV-2, whose animal origin remains a mystery.
When the new coronavirus began to spread in humans, no one actively followed it. Now, the entire team of geneticists is closely following SARS-CoV-2, so when a mutation occurs, it can be determined immediately. Tracking mutations is a key step in ensuring that vaccines work. In this case, the researchers may be one step ahead of a pathogen that has been shown to have the potential for a pandemic.