N.B. monitors deer for COVID-19 after study finds ‘nearly extinct’ variants mutating – CBC

Impact of mutations on transmissibility to people remains to be determined, Cornell University researchers say

Feb 07, 2023

New Brunswick is keeping an eye out for COVID-19 strains in white-tailed deer after a recent study in the U.S. found mutations of SARS-CoV-2 variants in deer that no longer circulate among people, raising questions about whether the animals could transmit the virus back to people.

Researchers from Cornell University looked at more than 5,000 lymph node samples from free-ranging hunter-harvested white-tailed deer collected in the State of New York between 2020 and 2022.

They detected three major variants of concern — Alpha, Delta, and Gamma — several months after their last detection in humans.

“Interestingly, the viral sequences recovered from [white-tailed deer] were highly divergent from SARS-CoV-2 sequences recovered from humans, suggesting rapid adaptation of the virus in [white-tailed deer],” states the study, published Jan. 31 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Read more: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/deer-covid-19-new-brunswick-study-cornell-mutations-transmit-people-1.6740138

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