Antibodies to Covid-19 have been discovered in white-tailed deer, the most widespread in the United States, and is the first evidence of infection in a population of wild animals.
This is indicated by the research published by the Canadian University of Saskatchewan on the bioRxiv website, which collects the articles not yet screened by the scientific community, and reported on the website of the journal Nature.
Research indicates that antibodies have been detected in at least one third of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), the most common in North America, especially near urban centers. Researchers, led by Arinjay Banerjee, find the rapid exposure of large numbers of animals to the SarsCoV2 virus worrying, although they believe more research is needed to assess whether deer can become infected with each other and infect other species in the wild.
Previous laboratory experiments have shown that a deer can become infected with the SarsCov2 virus and pass it on to another deer and, as these animals live in small herds in the wild, the virus can spread naturally from an infected specimen. The fear is in particular the emergence of new animal reservoirs of the SarsCoV2 virus.
The risk is that, once adapted to the organism of a new animal, the virus can evolve and mutate, giving rise to variants, perhaps capable of escaping vaccines and infecting other species, including humans, even after the pandemic. it will have subsided.