NBC News Consults U of G Zoonotic Disease Expert

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Prof. Scott Weese

NBC News Online spoke with Prof. Scott Weese, Department of Pathobiology in U of G’s Ontario Veterinary College (OVC), about why a complete cull of mink in Denmark was necessary to stop the spread of a new form of COVID-19.

Weese said the virus that causes COVID-19 spreads easily in mink, and in Denmark it apparently mutated into a form that could then spread from mink to humans.

While that’s not a concern for the majority of people who will never have contact with live mink, Weese said, the mutation itself may be worrying.

“There is still some debate over whether it’s a relevant change, and there’s not a clear answer on that,” he said, adding that more study is needed.

Weese is the chief of infection control at OVC and the director of U of G’s Centre for Public Health and Zoonoses.