Omicron-like virus appears in deer in Canada, can infect humans

Virus causes COVID-19 found in Quebec deer canada

Omicron-like virus appears in deer in Canada, can infect humans

Rp_News88.. A Canadian study found a variant of the Omicron-like virus that causes Covid-19 in deer.  The variant virus was found in a population of white-tailed deer in Ontario, according to a new study.

The same strain has also been found in people from the same area.  It is suspected that he had contact with deer.  However, there is no evidence of sustained transmission from deer to humans.

The researchers who first characterized what they call the Ontario WTD clade say it's difficult to determine how this lineage evolved.  It was because it seemed to have gone unnoticed for almost a year.  They speculate that it spread from humans to deer and then back to at least one human.

The new branch of the SARS-CoV-2 family tree has about 79 gene changes or mutations that distinguish it from the original strain of the virus first identified in Wuhan, China. About half of those changes have been found in animals.

This is actually a pretty significant study, I think, because we're looking at the evolutionary potential of the virus in animal reservoirs," said J. Scott Weese, a professor at the University of Guelph in Canada.

Deer Ideal Host

The study was posted prior to peer review on BioRxiv's preprint server. In many ways, deer are ideal hosts for SARS-CoV-2 according to Weese. Deer are very susceptible to infection, but are not seriously ill. Their nature is clustered in groups, so the virus is easy to spread.

This new strain was detected during the hunting season. Hunters take the deer they kill to scientists who wipe and test them. The researchers say there is no evidence that this strain has resulted in sustained transmission from deer to humans or humans to humans.

Initial laboratory experiments have shown that the new strain is easily destroyed by antibodies made in response to vaccination, which makes this version of the virus unlikely to pose an immediate threat.  

The problem is what might happen in the future.  I think most people think that humans are driving this pandemic," said study author Bradley Pickering, who is head of specialty pathogens at Canada's National Center for Foreign Animal Diseases.

So now, it looks like it's circulating in wildlife first," Pickering said.


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