At least two American companies and Russian researchers are working on a coronavirus vaccine for mink. These animals have fallen ill and died of the virus in large numbers, and they have also been transmitted to people in a mutated form.
Zoetis, a large New Jersey veterinary pharmaceutical company, had annual revenues of more than $6 billion in 2019, and Medgene Labs, a small company in South Dakota with about 35 employees, is testing mink vaccines. They are seeking product licenses from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Both companies said their vaccine technology is roughly similar to Novovax̵
In six countries in the world, mink is known to have been infected with the pandemic virus SARS-CoV-2.
All members of the weasel family are susceptible to infection, and are prone to certain symptoms and spread the virus, at least to other species. Part of the reason is due to the proteins on the cell surface and the structure of the respiratory system. Scientists don’t know why mink in particular get sick, but farms are crowded and caged conditions may lead to exposure to higher numbers of viruses.
The most serious outbreak was in Denmark, where mink farming was closed at least until 2022 due to the virus mutation in the infected mink.
At the end of last fall, Denmark ordered the slaughter of as many as 17 million animals. Most of the dead mink are not allowed to trade in fur. The country sells as many as 17 million furs a year on average, but last year’s decision also killed its breeding stock, and people worry that the industry will not recover.
In contrast, in the United States, about 275 major small mink farms produce about 3 million furs each year. The Fur Commission USA stated that thousands of American mink furs have been infected and died, but states have Some farms were isolated on this issue. Like Denmark, the Ministry of Agriculture has not yet stepped in, nor has it ordered the killing of the mink population.
Nevertheless, mink infections in the United States do pose a threat to public health. At least two minks that escaped from the farm tested positive. A wild mink tested positive. Scientists worry that if the virus spreads to more feral minks or other animals, it may establish and form a reservoir in the natural population, from which it may appear in a mutated form to re-infect at another time Humanity.
So far, the mutations observed in Danish mink have not proven to be a problem. But the mutation of the virus that infects humans has produced at least two more infectious variants. Allowing the second mink to serve as another breeding ground for the virus increases the chance of mutation and escape into other animals. Therefore, the value of mink vaccine may exceed the industry. Although the Ministry of Agriculture has not yet considered any application for cat and dog vaccines, the two companies are considering this possibility.
Although the exact order of vaccinators may vary from state to state, most people may put medical workers and residents of long-term care facilities first. If you want to know how to make this decision, then this article will help you.
Only when the entire society is protected against the coronavirus can life return to normal. Once the country/region has approved the vaccine, they can only vaccinate at most a few percent of its citizens in the first few months. Most people who have not been vaccinated are still vulnerable to infection. More and more coronavirus vaccines show strong disease prevention capabilities. But it is also possible for people to spread the virus without even knowing that they are infected because they only experience mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. Scientists do not yet know whether these vaccines can also stop the spread of coronavirus. Therefore, for the time being, even people who have been vaccinated need to wear masks to avoid indoor crowds. Once enough people are vaccinated, it will be difficult for the coronavirus to find people who are vulnerable. Depending on how quickly we achieve our goals as a society, by the fall of 2021, life may begin to approach normal levels.
Yes, but not forever. Two vaccines may be approved this month, and they will obviously protect people from Covid-19. However, the clinical trials that provide these results are not designed to determine whether the vaccinated people can still transmit the coronavirus without symptoms. That is still possible. We know that people who are naturally infected by the coronavirus can spread it without any cough or other symptoms. With the introduction of the vaccine, researchers will focus on this issue. At the same time, even vaccinated people need to see themselves as possible spreaders.
Pfizer and BioNTech vaccines, like other typical vaccines, are delivered in one shot. The injection is not any different from the injection you received before. Thousands of people have been vaccinated, and none of them have reported any serious health problems. But some of them experience brief discomfort, including pain that usually lasts a day and flu-like symptoms. People may need to plan a day off or a day off school after the second shot. Although these experiences are not pleasant, they are a good sign: they are the result of your own immune system encountering a vaccine and producing an effective response that will provide lasting immunity.
Not possible. Vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer use genetic molecules to activate the immune system. This molecule is called mRNA and will eventually be destroyed by the body. The mRNA is packaged in an oily bubble that can fuse with the cell, allowing the molecule to slide into the cell. Cells use mRNA to make proteins from coronaviruses to stimulate the immune system. At any time, each of our cells may contain thousands of mRNA molecules, which they produce to make their own proteins. After these proteins are made, our cells use special enzymes to chop up mRNA. The mRNA molecules made by our cells can only survive for a few minutes. The mRNA in the vaccine is designed to withstand cellular enzymes for a longer period of time, so that the cells can produce additional viral proteins and promote a stronger immune response. However, mRNA can only last a few days before it can be destroyed.
Zoetis produces many vaccines for livestock and dogs and cats. For pets, it produces vaccines for canine infectious respiratory diseases, feline leukemia virus and other vaccines. The company began work on animal vaccines when the pandemic began in February.
Mahesh Kumar, Senior Vice President of Zoetis Global Biologics, said: “When we saw the first case of dog infection in Hong Kong, we immediately took conventional measures to develop an emerging infectious disease vaccine.” “We decided to provide dogs and cats. Prepare the vaccine.”
However, once news of the mink infection spread, the company contacted the US Department of Agriculture and obtained permission to test the vaccine in the mink. In the past, the process from testing to licensing other vaccines took several months.
Dr. Kumar pointed out that veterinary coronavirus vaccines are common, such as avian infectious bronchitis vaccine. The disease was first discovered in the 1930s, and many companies are producing vaccines.
Medgene, a small company in its infancy, has begun researching a coronavirus vaccine technology for animals in response to the devastating porcine diarrhea virus that hit pigs in 2013. The company’s chief executive, Mark Luecke, said that since the news of the pandemic last year, after identifying the coronavirus and describing its genetic sequence, a team “immediately began to develop a vaccine suitable for animals.”
Since the company didn’t know which animals would be susceptible, it started, as human vaccine developers usually do, testing on mice. It turns out that mink fur is particularly vulnerable to infection, and the company contacted people in the mink fur industry and started testing the virus. Luc said that in the spring of this year, subject to permits, it should be feasible to produce it.
Outside the United States, other researchers are also working on mink vaccines. Researchers in Russia and Finland are seeking animal vaccines for mink and other animals.