Since June 2020, Danish authorities have reported an extensive spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, on mink farms in Denmark. On 5 November, the Danish public health authorities reported the detection of a mink-associated SARS-CoV-2 variant with a combination of mutations not previously observed (referred to as “Cluster 5”) in 12 human cases in North Jutland, detected from August to September 2020.
To date, Statens Serum Institut (SSI) in Denmark has identified seven unique mutations in the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 among variants co-circulating in mink and humans. SSI cultured the “Cluster 5” variant with four amino acid changes in the spike protein, which was identified in mink and isolated from the 12 human cases reported in North Jutland. Preliminary findings suggested that there was a lower capability of antibodies to neutralize the Cluster 5 strain, which requires further investigation.
Following public health measures implemented by Danish authorities, the incidence of COVID-19 in North Jutland decreased from 100 per 100,000 population in the week beginning 16 November (week 47) to 60 per 100,000 population in the week beginning 2 November (week 45). Over the past weeks, Danish authorities have conducted mass testing of 111 447 individuals in North Jutland using reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and are planning to conduct genetic sequencing for all positive samples.
Read more at World Health Organization
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