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Coronavirus Antibodies Discovered in U.S. Wild Animals

The following article, Coronavirus Antibodies Discovered in U.S. Wild Animals, was first published on Flag And Cross.

With the coronavirus crisis finding new legs for itself with the delta and lambda variants, (and now “delta plus” as well), it appears as though Americans may be dealing with the repercussions of the pandemic for some time longer.

These mutations weren’t necessarily unexpected, of course, and science seems to be moving ahead with the necessary work to keep these new strains in check.

At this rate, we’ll have this thing under control again with months, unless something absolutely wild were to happen.  Something like finding out that the virus is now being transmitted by wild animals here in the United States.

White-tailed deer, a species found in every U.S. state except Alaska, appear to be contracting the coronavirus in the wild, according to the first study to search for evidence of an outbreak in wild deer.

Researchers with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) analyzed blood samples from more than 600 deer in Michigan, Illinois, New York, and Pennsylvania over the past decade, and they discovered that 40 percent of the 152 wild deer tested from January through March 2021 had antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Another three deer from January 2020 also had antibodies.

And there is no way to tell a sick deer from a healthy deer without testing.

Their presence means that deer likely had encountered the virus and then fought it off. The animals didn’t appear sick, so they probably had asymptomatic infections, the agency says. Roughly 30 million white-tailed deer live in the U.S.

And while this does appear to be an alarming development, scientists are in agreement that the risk of transmission from deer to humans is rather low.

 

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