Covid-19: Possible Deer To Human Transmission Found

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Researchers in Canada have found what could be the first deer to human tranmission of COVID-19.

According to a CDB article, preliminary research suggests deer may be able to transmit the COVID-19 virus to humans, following analysis by a team of Canadian scientists monitoring the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in animals.

Up until now, researchers have only found evidence of humans spreading the virus to deer, and deer spreading it to other deer. New evidence suggesting the virus may be able to spill from deer to humans is a significant development, as scientists are closely tracking whether wild animals could become a source of new variants and act as a reservoir for SARS-CoV-2.

According to CBC officials, the new research paper posted Friday on bioRxiv, an online archive and distribution service for unpublished preprints in the life sciences, has not been peer reviewed.

The findings stem from work by a team of scientists who collaborated to analyze samples taken from hundreds of deer killed by hunters in the fall of 2021 in southwestern Ontario.In their analysis, scientists discovered a highly divergent lineage of SARS-CoV-2 — which essentially means a cluster of the virus with a lot of mutations. Around the same time, a genetically similar version of the virus was identified in a person from the same region of Ontario who had recently been in contact with deer.

You can read the full story here.

Our last updated on COVID-19, showed the virus found in deer in Texas.

Research conducted by Douglas Watts, Ph.D., professor of biological sciences at The University of Texas at El Paso, has found COVID-19 present in white-tailed deer in Texas. A report on the discovery was published recently in Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases, a peer-reviewed journal focusing on diseases transmitted to humans by animals.

The UTEP team found the first reported evidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in deer from Texas, which widens the previously reported geographical range of COVID-19 among deer in the United States, further confirming that infection was common among the species.

“The one thing we know best about SARS-CoV-2 is its unpredictability,” Watts said. “Therefore, the transmission of the virus from infected deer back to humans, while not likely, may be possible.”

While the mechanisms of COVID-19 transmission between humans and animals is still being investigated, the UTEP team’s study suggests that deer should not be neglected as a possible source of SARS-CoV-2 infection among humans as well as domestic and wildlife animals. Watts said subsequent investigations should work to mitigate any risks associated with deer as a possible source of human infection.

Douglas Watts, Ph.D., left, professor of biological sciences at The University of Texas at El Paso, and Pedro Palermo, manager of the UTEP Border Biomedical Research Center’s Biosafety Level 3 Infectious Disease Research Program laboratory, are authors of a study that proves for the first time that COVID-19 is present in white-tailed deer in Texas, a finding published recently in Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases.
(Photo J.R. Hernandez / UTEP Marketing and Communications.)

The study’s lead author was Pedro Palermo, manager of the UTEP Border Biomedical Research Center’s Biosafety Level 3 Infectious Disease Research Program laboratory. Palermo explained the results of this research raise many questions regarding infection and transmission of SARS-CoV-2 among wild and domestic animals.

“UTEP works to address challenging issues through its research,” said Robert A. Kirken, Ph.D., dean of the College of Science. “This project is a great example of that because it has the potential to make an impact on the health of people throughout the country.”

Watts’ team studied blood samples collected from deer of various ages in Travis County, Texas, during the first two months of 2021, amid the pandemic. Evidence of SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies was found in more than a third of the samples, including a significant prevalence among deer that were 1.5 years old, indicating that the disease is rampant among one of the most abundant wildlife species, particularly among males.

The 37% antibody prevalence observed in this study is comparable to the 40% rate reported in deer in other states including Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania and New York.

The research was funded by a grant from the National Institutes on Minority Health and Health Disparities, a component of the National Institutes of Health.


  1. Gilbert says:

    How did deer catch COVID? You guys are now part of the fear mongering machine.

  2. Alex says:

    Why do y’all make this sound like it’s brand new info? This knowledge has been known for years. Taking advantage of the current mindset of society to gain website traffic is not admirable. And quite honestly is disappointing to see coming from this publication.

  3. !John Menard says:

    TPWD keep up the good work of informng the public of wildlife FACTS. All hunters apprecate the information!