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Coronovirus is now on the march by routes via other species.


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As the title, mutation now found in mink with the certainty that 17,000,000  will be culled in Denmark, but more worrying, something I hadn't heard of till now, Spain and Holland culled mink for the same reason earlier in the year.

 

Anyone else heard of the Spanish and Dutch episodes ?  I hadn't till now but TBH through out the summer I had only taken note of UK developments.

 

Not unexpected though due to the ability of many types of virus to jump species.

 

Watch this space. 😳

 

This gives a bit more info,from the BBC news.

 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-54833459

 

 

 

 

Common sense isn't a gift, it's a punishment because you have to deal with everyone who doesn't have it.  :rolleyes:

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I was as surprised as you,especially Spain,which i followed every day as we wanted to winter there,I never saw anything about it on Spanish websites,maybe missed it,or maybe they kept it quiet !

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4 minutes ago, Pheasant said:

I was as surprised as you,especially Spain,which i followed every day as we wanted to winter there,I never saw anything about it on Spanish websites,maybe missed it,or maybe they kept it quiet !

 

Yes, prompted by what I read I did a bit of quick Googling and it appears the USA at least has also had the same problem.

 

There is research that suggests that the jump was from humans to mink, which can and does happen with other mammals, however the worrying factor is that it can do the reverse, mink to humans, I think Holland had a case, the mink to human virus is a mutation, so a new version, the researchers are looking to see if when humans are infected with the mink version, the outcome is the same or similar as Covid, or if there is a reduced threat as sometimes happens with virus mutations.

 

The worrying aspect, as in the article, either way, is that though the mink version may not be as serious, the fact of it being out and about it could affect the potency of a vaccine should one turn up for Covid.

 

When it does infect mink, from the first signs, mouth breathing, nose and eye discharge to death, can be as little as 24 hrs. !

Common sense isn't a gift, it's a punishment because you have to deal with everyone who doesn't have it.  :rolleyes:

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SARS-nCOV-2, the virus behind COVID, uses something called the angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor to bind to and infect cells.  ACE2 is highly conserved across mammalian carnivores, meaning that it is essentially the same protein across many different species.  Also SARS-nCOV-2 is recent zoonoses, having made the jump from its initial animal resevoir to humans about a year ago.  So it hasn't really had time to become exclusively adapted to humans.

 

It is no surprise then that it is able to infect a wide range of non-human hosts.  Off the top of my head, based on research into similarities of the ACE2 gene, certain monkeys, ferrets and related animals (e.g. Mink), felines (cats) and hamsters are all particularly prone to infection.  Dogs can be infected but they're not as susceptible.  If you remember there was a story early on in the pandemic about the Tigers at a US zoo catching it from their human handlers.

 

It is also worth noting that Ferrets, in particular, are extensively used as research models for human respiratory viruses for exactly that reason - they can be infected by human Influenza for example.  Much of the early work on the systemic effects of COVID-19 was done on ferrets and hamsters believe it or not.

 

Given that it is no real surprise that non-human animals can get infected the question becomes 'should we be concerned'.  The consensus from the experts in the field I've followed for some time is 'no, not really'.  And there are two main arguments for that:

 

1) Any mutations in Mink, or any other animal host, represent a tiny percentage of the active infections of SARS-nCOV-2.  Not only is it likely that any such mutation has already arisen and proven to have no selective advantage, its impact is dwarfed by the hundreds of millions, possibly billions, of other active infections out there.

 

2) There is no evidence that human - animal - human transmission of the virus is a major driver of the epidemic.   There may be a few edge cases, there always are in something this big, but it is not a major means of transmission of the virus. 

 

So the Tl;Dr is that it is not unexpected and it is not likely to have a major impact on the course of the pandemic.  It does, however, make for good headlines.

 

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