Wednesday, December 1, 2021

SARS-CoV-2 in Whie Tailed Deer

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Health, Medicine, Wildlife, Nature

Ed Hessler

You've seen or heard the news that SARS-CoV-2 is widespread in white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in the United States. This is a throat-grabber that could again change the COVID-19 game profoundly because it is not known what it means in the long-term. 

Are deer incubators, a safe haven for the virus to learn new "tricks," create new variants and will these spill back to humans? The latter effect has already "documented...with minks on farms in the Netherlands and Poland." So far, there have been no reports of the virus making deer sick. And, of course, the Wuhan, China wet market origin of the pandemic still seems the most likely hypothesis.

NPR's Goats and Soda reporter Michaeleen Doucleff reports on what is known  and not known (including how deer were infected), concerns and what needs to happen.

Veterinary virologist Suresh Kuchipudi told Doucleff that"'If we want to continue to be proactive about emerging variants--and not be surprised by one that suddenly pops up -- there's and urgent need to continue to monitor SARS-CoV-2 in wildlife especially in animals that could serve as a reservoir, like the deer."

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