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Potential COVID-19 vaccine works against mutant mink strain


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Potential COVID-19 vaccine works against mutant mink strain in early trials 

Potential COVID-19 vaccine works against mutant mink strain

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Scientists in Denmark are developing a potential coronavirus vaccine that has so far proven effective against a mutant virus strain linked to minks.

COVID-19 outbreaks have ravaged Danish mink farms, one of the world’s largest producers of mink fur, since the summer.

And last week, officials in the Nordic country announced a plan to cull its entire herd of up to 17 million mink after the furry creatures were found to have a coronavirus mutation that was spreading to humans.

Early studies of the virus mutation, known as Cluster 5, showed the bug to have a reduced sensitivity towards antibodies, possibly hampering the efficacy of future vaccines.

However, antibodies from rabbits treated with an early-stage vaccine candidate from Denmark’s State Serum Institute proved effective on the Cluster 5 mutation, according to Anders Fomsgaard, a leading scientist at the institute.

“We couldn’t resist testing the rabbit antibodies we have against Cluster 5, and it works,” Fomsgaard told Danish broadcaster DR on Thursday.

The vaccine candidate is still in the early stages of development and will soon move to human trials.

“Whether this also applies to other vaccines and whether it applies to human antibodies, we do not know,” Fomsgaard said.