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A More Dangerous COVID-19 Mutation Ahead?

We are all getting excited that a vaccine for COVID-19 is finally being rolled out in the UK and soon in the United States.  If you are not tuning in, you might as well notice that this time more than ever the gap between those infected and those recovered is very huge - more than 22 Million at least.  

Cases are also rising more than ever, roughly at 500,000+ cases a day.  Are we not seeing something more dangerous?  Is there a dangerous coronavirus mutation already on the way?

The Cluster-5 Mutation

A so called ‘Cluster-5’ COVID-19 mutation was found in 5 mink farms and 12 people in the North Jutland region in Denmark's north. According to researchers the Cluster-5 variant causes three amino-acid changes and two deletions in the spike protein.

Preliminary cell experiments suggest that antibodies from some people who had recovered from COVID-19 found it more difficult to recognize the Cluster-5 variant than viruses that did not carry the Cluster-5 mutations. This suggests that the variant could be less responsive to antibody treatments or vaccines, and informed the government’s decision to cull the farmed mink, according to a letter from Denmark’s chief veterinary officer to the World Organization for Animal Health. “It is the right thing to do in a situation where the vaccine, which is currently the light at the end of a very dark tunnel, is in danger,” Danish minister for food and fisheries, Mogens Jensen, said in a public statement on 5 November.

It is also becoming more and more dangerous as outbreaks are becoming uncontrolled.  According to a news from,

In Denmark, the world’s largest producer of mink pelts, authorities are struggling to control farm outbreaks, despite extensive control measures. In many affected farms, almost all animals have antibodies against the virus. Outbreaks have also been detected in mink farms in the Netherlands, Sweden, Spain, Italy and the United States. The Netherlands plans to cull its entire mink population by 2021, accelerating plans to end mink farming by 2024.

Scientists still don’t know how the virus is entering farms, says Anette Boklund, an epidemiologist and veterinarian at the University of Copenhagen. Her team has found low levels of viral RNA on houseflies, as well as in hair and air samples close to mink cages.

Human and Animals Cross Infection

According to a World Health Organization (WHO) report which also talks about the Denmark Cluster-5 mutation there is an evidence that cross infection between animals to humans and humans to animals is already possible.

Minks were infected following exposure from infected humans. Minks can act as a reservoir of SARS-CoV-2, passing the virus between them, and pose a risk for virus spill-over from mink to humans. People can then transmit this virus within the human population. Additionally, spill-back (human to mink transmission) can occur. It remains a concern when any animal virus spills in to the human population, or when an animal population could contribute to amplifying and spreading a virus affecting humans. As viruses move between human and animal populations, genetic modifications in the virus can occur. These changes can be identified through whole genome sequencing, and when found, experiments can study the possible implications of these changes on the disease in humans.

To date, six countries, namely Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Italy and the United States of America have reported SARS-CoV-2 in farmed minks to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

Analysis of New COVID-19 Strains

If COVID-19 viral strains can even be found in houseflies, cats, dogs and other animals, then the spread of infection might even be wider in the future. (Read "The Mink Link") This is a concern that must be looked into and the world must begin preparing for.

We are all hoping that 2021 would be better and let us all hope that it would not be a year of more danger.

What do you think of this news? Any thoughts?