American and Russian researchers are reported to be working on Covid-19 vaccines for mink after the animals proved highly susceptible to the coronavirus pandemic.
Two US firms are already testing vaccines and seeking to license their products with the US Department of Agriculture, the New York Times reported.
The commercially-farmed, weasel-like animals have suffered large outbreaks of disease in several countries and then passed mutated strains back into the human population.
The risk that mink farms could become a reservoir for virulent new variants saw Denmark in November order a cull of its entire farmed mink population of more than 15 million animals.
The rushed cull decision turned into a national scandal after prime minister Mette Frederiksen’s government acknowledged that it had no legal right to order a cull of minks not contaminated by the Covid-19 variant. Putrefying mink bodies then began to re-emerge from hastily dug mass graves as they were forced upwards by the pressure of gasses from decomposition.