Mink panic in Denmark

November 5, 2020

As written in the first Covid-19 newsletter on May 6 (1):

”A vaccine may be excellent, but firstly, it takes at least a year before we have it, and secondly, a vaccine can never keep up with a virus in the many mutations that make its immune profile so varied that a vaccine quickly becomes obsolete as we have seen with the flu vaccine. The only thing that can keep up in response against a virus’ mutations is a well-functioning immune system in the individual.”

And now what has been expected has happened, namely a mutation that spreads a lot of panic, costs 17 million mink their lives, 1,100 mink farmers their livelihood and perhaps life’s work, 6,000 jobs, and Denmark 10 billion kroner in export revenue.

Many ask if this is now also necessary, and international researchers wonder about the Danish reaction, as they cannot see that this mutation is more dangerous than so many other mutations.

In the defense of the authorities, it can be said that 17 million mink do constitute a very serious pool of infection within the country’s borders, and, on mink farms, the virus can persist for years and can perhaps mutate into dangerous varieties.

The current “cluster-5 variant” found in mink is, according to authorities, no more dangerous than the “original Wuhan variant”, but is still considered dangerous by the Serum Institute.

Not more dangerous for humans, but dangerous for the vaccine.

It is feared that this variant will weaken the effect of a future coronary vaccine.
But there will be more mutations. It will continue. If not from domesticated mink, then from forest marten, ermine (stoats), otters, and ferrets. Or what about a variant of the dreaded bird flu that becomes contagious to humans? It is a far more dangerous situation.

If we continue with this eternal focus on vaccines and only vaccines, we can run in circles for decades and constantly have to jump from one position to another to escape new mutant variants.

At the EU level, however, hard work is underway to make human survival dependent on vaccines (2) so that the individual’s immune system can only be strengthened in this way and not by natural infection.

This is a dangerous path to take, and it can result in an inflicted immunological handicap that weakens humanity’s ability to counteract precisely the many mutations that microorganisms undergo in their own evolution.

One can imagine the situation that one day we will be exposed to a life-threatening pandemic like in 1918, which kills millions of people the year before we can get a vaccine. (The current pandemic has not increased overall mortality.)

We therefore need to ensure that the human population’s basic immune system is optimal. It may be possible to do so, but it requires openness to new thinking.

When we focus exclusively on the Covid-19 epidemic, there is an almost overwhelming number of studies that identify vitamin D deficiency as a significant risk factor for infection.

Most recently, three days ago (November 2), a new study (3) was published describing Covid-19 survival in the elderly as a function of their vitamin D intake.
There were 77 Covid-19 patients aged 78 – 100 years equally distributed between men and women. All were admitted to a geriatric emergency department at Angers University Hospital in France from March to May in 2020.

One could see the difference between the three groups: Group 1 (n=29) had taken vitamin D continuously for at least one year, group 2 (n=16) had not taken anything but had received a bolus dose of vitamin D on admission, and group 3 (n=32) had not received vitamin D.

The thrtee groups were comparable over a wide range of potentially confounding factors. The average age of the study participants was 88 years.

Researchers evaluated 14-day mortality and found that 93% survived in group 1, 81% in group 2, and 68% in group 3.

With group 3 as the reference group (Hazard Ratio: 1), group 1 thus had a hazard ratio of 0.07, and group 2 had a hazard ratio of 0.37.

Thus, group 1 with a history of solid vitamin D supplementation had significantly better survival than group 3, which had not taken vitamin D supplements.

Group 2, which received a bolus of 80,000 IU vitamin D at admission, had better survival, but the difference from group 3 survival was not statistically significant.

The conclusion of this study was thus that regular supplementation with vitamin D is associated with less severe COVID-19 disease and better survival in frail elderly individuals. The detailed figures can be seen in the reference below (3).

Study after study of vitamin D’s efficacy has been added to the basket over the last six months, and the studies are all identical. How many studies do we need?

When these studies are combined with the hundreds of previous studies on immune system weakening in the absence of vitamin D and with the even specific studies and a meta-analysis on lung infections like SARS, then one must again ask: How many studies does it take before the authorities will advise vulnerable groups to take vitamin D or at least to have their vitamin D levels in their blood measured?

Many studies (references 4-19) show that one can safely and effectively optimize the population’s resistance and survival of Covid-19 by taking sufficient vitamin D to reach a blood concentration of at least 75nmol / l.

This blood vitamin D concentration can most often be achieved with a daily dose of 80 – 100 micrograms.

If one also supplements with the other well-documented supplements, which have been mentioned in the previous newsletters, then we can get to the point that the general resistance of the population has increased. We need to increase the population’s resistance against the upcoming mutations of Covid-19 and also against other epidemics, which may even be dangerous.

But, for now, remember to wash your hands and keep your distance.

Take care of yourself and others.

Claus Hancke MD
Specialist in general medicine


  1. https://www.vitalraadet.dk/en/2997-2/
  2. https://ec.europa.eu/health/sites/health/files/vaccination/docs/2019-2022_roadmap_en.pdf
  3. Annweiler G et al. Vitamin D Supplementation Associated to Better Survival in Hospitalized Frail Elderly COVID-19 Patients: The GERIA-COVID Quasi-Experimental Study. Nutrients. 2020 Nov;12: 3377 1-12.
  4. Hewison M. Vitamin D and innate and adaptive immunity. Vitam Horm, 2011; vol 86:23-62.
  5. Gombart AF, Pierre A, Maggini S. A Review of Micronutrients and the Immune System-Working in Harmony to Reduce the Risk of Infection. Nutrients. 2020 Jan 16;12(1).
  6. Schwalfenberg GK. A review of the critical role of vitamin D in the functioning of the immune system and the clinical implications of vitamin D deficiency. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2011 Jan;55(1):96-108.
  7. Dancer RC, Parekh D, Lax S, D’Souza V, Zheng S1, Bassford CR, et al. Vitamin D deficiency contributes directly to the acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Thorax. 2015 Jul;70(7):617-24.
  8. Urashima M, Segawa T, Okazaki M, et al. Randomized trial of vitamin D supplementation to prevent seasonal influenza A in schoolchildren. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 May;91(5):1255-60.
  9. Sabetta JR, DePetrillo P, Cipriani RJ, Smardin J, Burns LA, Landry ML. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin d and the incidence of acute viral respiratory tract infections in healthy adults. PLoS One. 2010 Jun 14;5(6):e11088.
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  12. McCartney DM, Byrne DG. Optimisation of Vitamin D Status for Enhanced Immuno-protection Against Covid-19. Ir Med J. 2020 Apr 3;113(4):58.
  13. Grant WB, Lahore H, McDonnell SL, Baggerly CA, French CB, Aliano JL, Bhattoa HP. Evidence that Vitamin D Supplementation Could Reduce Risk of Influenza and COVID-19 Infections and Deaths. Nutrients. 2020 Apr 2;12(4). pii: E988.
  14. Aldridge RA, Lewer D, Beale S, et al. Seasonality and immunity to laboratory-confirmed seasonal coronaviruses (HCoV-NL63, HCoV-0C43, and HCoV-229E): results from the Flu Watch cohort study 30 March 2020.
  15. McCullough PJ, Lehrer DS, Amend J. Daily oral dosing of vitamin D3 using 5000 TO 50,000 international units a day in long-term hospitalized patients: Insights from a seven year experience. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2019 May;189:228-239.
  16. Ilie PC, Stefanescu S, Smith L. The role of Vitamin D in the prevention of coronavirus disease 2019, infection and mortality. Aging Clinical and Experimental research (https://doi.org/10.1007/s40520-020-01570-8) Springer Switzerland. 2020 May 6.
  17. Martineau A, Forouhi N (2020) Vitamin-D for Covid-19: a case to answer. Lancet 2020;8:735-6.
  18. Joliffe D, Martineau A, Damsgaard Camilla et al. (2020) Vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory infections: Systematic review and meta-analysis of aggregate data from randomised controlled trials. medRxiv BMJ 17.juli 2020.
  19. Martineau A et al. (2017) Vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory tract infections: Systematic review and meta-analysis of individual participant data.
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