Source: China State Council Information Office 2
A Chinese research team has recently disclosed the transmission mechanism of novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) in minks and found that vaccination is a potential strategy to prevent minks from transmitting the virus.
The research team from Harbin Veterinary Research Institute under the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), published their paper “Replication, pathogenicity, and transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in minks” in the National Science Review on Dec. 8. The National Science Review is an open access journal reporting cutting-edge scientific and technological developments in China and around the world under the auspices of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).
Researchers found that SARS-CoV-2 replicates efficiently in both the upper and lower respiratory tracts and causes severe lesions in the nasal mucosa and lungs of minks. The pulmonary lesions are highly similar to those seen in human COVID-19 patients. The study also showed that SARS-CoV-2 transmits efficiently in minks via respiratory droplets.
The researchers further declared that a spike protein-based subunit vaccine largely prevents SARS-CoV-2 replication and lung damage in minks.
According to the study, minks are most similar to humans after being infected with SARS-CoV-2, making minks a potential animal model for studying SARS-CoV-2, antiviral drugs, vaccine development and COVID-19 control measure evaluation.
Minks infected with SARS-CoV-2 have been reported in several countries in Europe and the Americas, and millions of minks have been culled to contain the spread of the virus. In light of this, the research provides important support for the mink industry which has been severely shocked by the COVID-19 epidemic.
The study was co-conducted by Harbin Veterinary Research Institute, the School of Public Health of Xiamen University and the National Research Center for Veterinary Medicine under the support of China’s National Key R&D Program and the Applied Technology Research and Development Project of Heilongjiang province.
Shuai Lei, Zhong Gongxun, Wen Zhiyuan, Wang Chong, He Xijun and Yuan Quan are the co-first authors of the research paper, while Bu Zhigao and Chen Hualan are the co-corresponding authors.
Content created in partnership with Science and Technology Daily.