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Finland will start vaccinating minks against COVID-19

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Finland will start vaccinating minks on fur farms against COVID-19. (file)

Helsinki:

The country’s regulator said on Friday that Finland would begin vaccinating minks on fur farms against COVID-19 after authorities gave provisional approval for an experimental vaccine.

The conditional use permit is “valid until the end of December, by which time the applicant must provide further data,” said Lisa Kartinen, senior inspector at the Finnish Food Authority, which oversees veterinary activities.

Such conditional permits may be granted during a pandemic when no other vaccine is available.

Minks are bred for their fur and have been found to be at particular risk of contracting the novel coronavirus.

“We have now produced about half a million doses, which should be enough to vaccinate all animals twice,” said Jussi Pura, research director at the Finnish Fur Breeders’ Association, which developed the vaccine together with researchers from the University of Helsinki.

Because clinical trials have not yet been conducted, the jab cannot be distributed commercially and must be used in conjunction with strict procedures on 1,000 fur farms across Finland to monitor and prevent the spread of the virus .

The vaccine approval only applies to Finland, where no cases of the novel coronavirus have been identified among minks so far, and where transmission rates between humans have been among the lowest in the European Union.

The Breeders’ Association believes it is the first vaccine to receive such approval in the European Union.

Neighboring Russia said in March that it had registered the world’s first animal vaccine against COVID-19, having previously been tested on dogs, cats, minks and foxes.

Mink is the only animal identified so far that is capable of transmitting COVID-19 to humans.

Denmark, formerly Europe’s biggest exporter of mink pelts, devastated its fur industry last November after a mutated strain of the virus spread through mink farms. About 15 million minks of the country were later killed.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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