Authorities in the Netherlands have made it mandatory to test all mink farms in the country as they suspect that a mink might have infected humans with Coronavirus, international media reported. As a part of the process, they said that all the minks would undergo an antibody test. This comes as scientists across the world have alleged that the coronavirus was transmitted to humans due to consumption of bats and pangolins.
“On the basis of new research results from the ongoing research into Covid-19 infections at mink farms, it is plausible that infection took place from mink to human. It also appears from this research that minks can have Covid-19 without displaying symptoms,” the Dutch government said in a statement.
In addition to that minks, they also suspect cats of spreading the virus between farms. According to the government's statement, ongoing research has revealed that the virus at two different infected farms was similar. Also, COVID-19 was found at three of the11 cats at one of them. Therefore, the government has instructed infected mink farms owner to not allow cats to enter or leave until the investigation is completed.
Meanwhile, a recent study has stated that pangolins may have played a role in the origin of the contagion that has infected over five million people worldwide. SARS-CoV-2 is a zoonotic infection and has been traced to bats for its RaTG13 genome sequence but scientists have argued that the bat virus cannot directly infect humans, making the case for an intermediate host.
While earlier evidence has pointed towards pangolins, a recent study based on comparative genomic analysis can driving scientific consensus on the scaly anteater being the potential missing link in transmission between bat to humans. As per the research paper, scientists from South China Agricultural University have isolated a coronavirus in Malayan pangolins that showed 100%, 98.6%, 97.8%, and 90.7% amino acid identity with SARS-CoV-2 in the E, M, N and S genes, respectively.