Finland First in EU to Vaccinate Fur Farm Animals Against COVID-19
Last year, Russia became the world's first nation to register a COVID-19 vaccine for fur animals, cats, and dogs. Subsequently, mink vaccinated with Carnivac-Cov successfully transferred immunity to their cubs.
Finland is set to vaccinate fur farm animals against COVID-19. The Finnish Breeders' Association (FIFUR) will start vaccinating mink against coronavirus in the coming weeks, after receiving a conditional license by the Finnish Food Authority.
"The Finnish fur industry will be the first EU operator to vaccinate animals against coronavirus", FIFUR CEO Marja Tiura said in statement.
FurcoVac, the vaccine in question, was developed by a research team at the University of Helsinki and tested at a fur farm in Kannus, Central Ostrobothnia. It has been classed as an experimental vaccine and has been granted a conditional license, but not a trade permit.
According to FIFUR research director Jussi Peura, FurcoVac utilises the same raw materials needed to produce the vaccines used in humans, which resulted in challenges in the manufacturing process.
"We have enough vaccine doses to vaccinate all Finnish breeding mink twice. A booster vaccine will also be needed", Peura said.
Per the research director, skinning on the Kannus fur farm is due to begin in the next few weeks, after which they can begin vaccinating the remaining breeder animals. So far, half a million doses of vaccine have been set aside for the process.
Unlike its Nordic peers, Finland has seen no recorded cases of coronavirus infections in mink at its farms. By contrast, farms in other EU countries, including Denmark, the Netherlands, and Spain, slaughtered millions of mink to prevent the infection from spreading to humans and contributing to the mutation process. Denmark in particular culled 15 million mink and recently prolonged its ban on mink farming, angering an industry that used to be one of the world's major producers.
22 September 2021, 06:18 GMT
Mink farms were previously labelled a big risk more difficult to manage than the epidemic and were described as "big reservoirs of susceptible hosts" by University College London geneticist Francois Balloux.
Last year, Russia registered the world's first COVID-19 vaccine for animals. Carnivac-Cov is geared toward fur animals, cats, and dogs. Mink vaccinated with Carnivac-Cov at the beginning of this year successfully transferred immunity to their cubs, the Russian Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance said earlier this year.