According to the Russian Defense Ministry’s Zvezda news channel report on Monday, Russia plans to vaccinate its minks against the coronavirus following the mutated viruses found in mink farms in Denmark earlier this month.
Denmark’s State Serum Institute said in a preliminary report that a strain of a mutated SARS-CoV-2 was found in 12 humans who have been employed by mink farms in the north of the country. The report warned that if it were given a chance to spread, this variant might turn out to be less easily controlled by the vaccines which are currently under development. Danish prime minister Mette Frederiksen then announced that the only safe response would be to destroy all 17 million minks currently being raised by the Danish fur industry. Denmark supplies a third of the world’s mink furs.
According to Ivan Nesterov, a Russian mink grower, told Zvezda that Russia’s federal agricultural watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor is in the process of testing a coronavirus vaccine for minks, and once the testing is complete will start vaccinating the animals.
The producers of mink fur in Russia initially told Moscow Times they have no plans to destroy their animals, and claimed they had yet to encounter outbreaks of the coronavirus on their farms, mutated or not.
A representative of Russia’s largest mink farm, based in Kaliningrad, told Moscow Times: “We have no intention of killing our mink because of Covid-19. Our animals and staff working on the farms have been completely healthy and we haven’t seen anything unusual.”
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization announced it hadn’t seen any major differences in the symptoms, severity, or transmission rates, between the mink-related mutation and other Covid-19 strains. So no one needs to kill their minks yet.