Antibodies to COVID-19 found in 40% of white-tailed deer: these animals are vulnerable to the virus

Specialists from the US National Wildlife Service found antibodies to coronavirus in several

white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus).

During the work, the authors studied 385 blood sampleswhite-tailed deer and compared them with previously obtained data. It turned out that about 40% of the individuals had antibodies. Moreover, the concentration was so high that it was possible to draw a conclusion not about accidental contact with the pathogen, but about the transferred COVID-19.

Percentages varied by state:

  • the largest in Michigan (60%),
  • the smallest in Illinois (7%).

Moreover, the animals showed no symptoms of the disease. The researchers also tested blood samples from deer collected before the pandemic to make sure they hadn't previously had antibodies to SARS-CoV-2.

Scientists continue to study ungulates to understandhow likely new outbreaks of coronavirus infection are among them, and what is the typical severity of its symptoms, is critical to understanding whether white-tailed deer and their closest relatives will become a reservoir for new varieties of the virus.

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