The SARS-CoV-2 virus invariably affected almost half of the human population in the world despite leaving the wild animals untouched. It always has a chance to still communicate with wild animals. There are several reports which state that pet animals or some lab animals can even become infected. Importantly, they can even act as a source of transmission.
Mink- risk to wildlife
As per the Guardian report, some 100 mink infected with SARS-CoV-2, escaped from the Danish fur farms, which might increase the risk of transmission of COVID-19 among wild animals. Although it may not be as pathogenic as in humans, the wild animals could become a reservoir of the virus. In this year, more than five percent of the escaped mink would become infected with the virus. Also, we observed that the farm owners, owing to the current situation, culled millions of mink possibly infected with the virus. This was due to the instruction given by the Danish government.
When the mink acquires the virus, the virus might mutate due to the presence of a new host. For instance, it could cause the developing vaccine less effective. Perhaps still no statement proves the reduction in the effectiveness of vaccines to a mutated virus.
As of now, there is no evidence of spreading the virus through minks, yet might remain unnoticed for wild animals. In general, mink are solitary animals and so the spread is not rapid. However, other animals such as cats could eat the flesh of the infected mink, and able to spread to the other family. When the virus transmits to the wild animals, it would cause a permanent pandemic to both humans and animals.
Possibly, the virus can affect different species by facing a genetic mutation. Coronavirus vaccine for mink is currently in progress of development in the US. We hope everything will go smoothly and expect the same in the coming years.
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Source: Science Alert