America’s leading expert on infectious disease said a mutated version of the coronavirus found in Denmark’s mink farms does not appear to have derailed hopes for a vaccine.
The Danish government ordered a mass cull of all 15 million minks in farms nationwide earlier this month, shortly after it was discovered a new coronavirus strain had passed from the animals to humans.
The WHO has since launched a review of biosecurity measures in mink farms across the globe to prevent further spillover events.
“Whenever you see something like that, you need to pay attention to it. You certainly can’t just blow it off,” Fauci said on Thursday, referring to Denmark’s outbreak of Covid in mink farms.
Speaking during a webinar hosted by think tank Chatham House, Fauci added: “You have got to look at it, you have got to take a look at what it means, what the mutation has to do with various aspects of the molecules that are responsible for the binding of antibodies.”
The White House coronavirus advisor, who has worked as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for 36 years, said the institute’s vaccine research center had taken “a first look” at the discovery of a new coronavirus strain on Danish mink farms.
“It does not appear, at this point, that that mutation that’s been identified in the minks is going to have an impact on vaccines and affect a vaccine-induced response,” Fauci said.
“It might have an impact on certain monoclonal antibodies that are developed against the virus, we don’t know that yet. But, at first cut, it doesn’t look like something that is going to be really a big problem for the vaccines that are currently being used to reduce an immune response.”
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