Probable case of coronavirus infection from deer to humans has been identified in Canada

Canadian researchers believe they have found the first case of a deer transmitting coronavirus to humans, warning wider wildlife surveillance is needed to prevent new mutations from developing and spreading undetected.

to paper Published last week but not yet reviewed, scientists say at least one human case of Covid-19 can be traced to a strain of the virus found in hunted deer.

Biologists have already found groups of white-tailed deer infected with Covid in northeastern regions of the United States, as well as in the central counties of Canada. While deer are generally not considered a species that can easily transmit the virus to humans, experts have speculated that transmission was possible.

As part of their study, Canadian scientists sampled hundreds of white deer hunted last fall in southwestern Ontario. After taking nasal swabs and testing the deer’s lymph nodes, they found that 17 of 298 deer tested positive for a “new, highly differentiated strain” of coronavirus.

The virus is somewhat similar to strains currently circulating in humans. Instead, the genes closest to dynasty came from Samples taken from humans and you in Michigan two years ago, to babble Finley Maguire, associate professor at Dalhousie University and one of the authors of the article.

The researchers then compared the genetic makeup of the coronavirus found in deer with cases of the virus found in humans in the region.

The team found a resident who had a surprisingly similar strain of the virus and who had come into contact with deer. While the authors said limited sample data made it difficult to fully understand the genetic relationship between breeds, the timing and location of infection suggests deer is the likely source.

Scientists don’t know how the deer initially infected the virus, but closer study of the widespread variant in the population suggests that its massive structure means inoculum escape – the virus’s ability to evade vaccines – is unlikely.

“It’s reassuring that we found no evidence of further transmission, at a time when we were doing a lot of sampling and a lot of sequencing,” Samira Mubarak, a microbiologist and clinician scientist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center, told CBC. News. . “If we continue to do this monitoring, we will have a much better idea of ​​the real risks.”

Experts have long feared that the virus could infect and then mutate in certain animals, called reservoir species.

After examining the genetic sequence of the virus, Public Health Canada said there was no indication it had spread to humans and it may have been an “isolated case “.

“Until we know more, people who hunt, hunt, work closely with or handle wild animals should take precautions to prevent the potential spread of the virus,” the agency said on its site. Internet.

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