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Thu Aug 5, 2021, 09:15 AM

Wild deer have coronavirus antibodies (aka we are really fucked.)

Wild deer have coronavirus antibodies

Steve Droter/Chesapeake Bay Program/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)
Wild deer have coronavirus antibodies

By Rachel FrittsAug. 3, 2021 , 1:58 PM

Coronavirus antibodies have been found in wild white-tailed deer in the U.S. states of Michigan, Illinois, New York, and Pennsylvania, National Geographic reports. Researchers with the U.S. Department of Agriculture tested 385 deer between January and March and detected antibodies in 40%, the team reports in a preprint posted to bioRxiv late last month. Deer are now the second species, after mink, found to have contracted the pandemic coronavirus in the wild. (Dogs and cats have contracted the virus in household settings, and other species have experienced outbreaks in zoos.) Although there is no evidence that humans are at risk of catching COVID-19 from the animals, these findings indicate deer and other wildlife might act as a reservoir for the virus, potentially letting it circulate and evolve, even if it is controlled in the human population.

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2021/08/wild-deer-have-coronavirus-antibodies

26 replies, 1346 views

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Reply Wild deer have coronavirus antibodies (aka we are really fucked.) (Original post)
Botany Aug 2021 OP
madaboutharry Aug 2021 #1
tavernier Aug 2021 #2
roamer65 Aug 2021 #3
WhiskeyGrinder Aug 2021 #6
Whiskeytide Aug 2021 #18
hlthe2b Aug 2021 #4
Botany Aug 2021 #9
hlthe2b Aug 2021 #12
Botany Aug 2021 #15
BannonsLiver Aug 2021 #22
Botany Aug 2021 #24
Bongo Prophet Aug 2021 #26
NickB79 Aug 2021 #13
hlthe2b Aug 2021 #14
NickB79 Aug 2021 #16
hlthe2b Aug 2021 #19
lapfog_1 Aug 2021 #5
Throck Aug 2021 #7
WHITT Aug 2021 #8
ratchiweenie Aug 2021 #10
Buns_of_Fire Aug 2021 #11
Hoyt Aug 2021 #17
Treefrog Aug 2021 #20
BannonsLiver Aug 2021 #23
BannonsLiver Aug 2021 #21
Hortensis Aug 2021 #25

Response to Botany (Original post)

Thu Aug 5, 2021, 09:19 AM

1. This is worrisome.

Could new mutations come from wildlife turning the virus into an even more dangerous variant?

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Response to madaboutharry (Reply #1)

Thu Aug 5, 2021, 09:21 AM

2. It sounds like that is the implication. N/T

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Response to Botany (Original post)

Thu Aug 5, 2021, 09:22 AM

3. Deer hunting will drop quite a bit.

Especially if a nastier strain evolves.

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Response to roamer65 (Reply #3)

Thu Aug 5, 2021, 09:24 AM

6. Doubtful. Let me know when there's a documented deer-to-human transmission.

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Response to WhiskeyGrinder (Reply #6)

Thu Aug 5, 2021, 10:15 AM

18. A fair point, but potential transmission from ...

… wildlife to humans is the undeniable implication of this study. Transmission from wildlife to humans has been a working theory for the initial outbreak already. And clearly the deer acquired the virus somehow. I doubt they got it from a visit to Wuhan. They either got it from humans or from some intermediary carrier that got it from humans. Deer to human is not much of a stretch from a pretty solid hypothesis of human to deer.

But I agree that this discovery is unlikely to make a dent in deer hunting activity.

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Response to Botany (Original post)

Thu Aug 5, 2021, 09:23 AM

4. Antibodies indicate exposure only--not necessarily active disease nor ability to transmit to others.

I've elected previously not to respond to this story despite the hysteria that has been incited in the responses. But since perspective is a difficult thing when it comes to COVID-19 and new emerging issues, I am just going to remind people how often (in infectious disease/virological research) serosurveys can detect antibodies to any number of potent viruses or bacteria, yet with zero evidence of disease or zoonotic transmission to humans or to other animal species.

Does this finding warrant further investigation? Absolutely. But on its own, it is not indicative of much. We know COVID-19 persists for some time in sewage or contaminated water systems so, this is not the most unexpected finding that some wildlife may have routes of exposure.

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #4)

Thu Aug 5, 2021, 09:37 AM

9. Yes, lots of unknowns here.

And as far as i know the deer have not shown any signs of the active disease but the
potential for deer to human infection MIGHT BE there. My guess is that active virus could
be expelled from their breath or from their feces.

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Response to Botany (Reply #9)

Thu Aug 5, 2021, 09:43 AM

12. Little opportunity for hunters to be exposed from a living, breathing deer and

in the absence of systemic disease in these animals, it is less likely that sufficient virus evades their already activated immune system to pose a major risk from exposure to a carcass. Otherwise, we'd be seeing major outbreaks among coroners and funeral home embalmers from human disease-- especially since many people have died WITHOUT COVID-19 confirmation and very few funeral homes would be testing. Medical examiners performing autopsies obviously take considerable precautions--where they exist-- which is not in many locales across the US. Not so much (in terms of routine precautions) for the average funeral home worker nor coroners who are often elected and sans any direct medical training in many locals.

One needs to worry far more about human exposures which is an established risk and one which will undoubtedly far exceed those from any casual exposure to animals at this time.

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #12)

Thu Aug 5, 2021, 09:54 AM

15. Yes the human to human transfer risk is far bigger and proven (un vaccinated idiots) but my ...

.... worry is that wild and or domesticated animals becoming hosts for the virus which being
a virus can and will mutate so the potential for this nightmare to keep going is "out there."

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Response to Botany (Reply #9)

Thu Aug 5, 2021, 10:58 AM

22. Fuck. And I had a lunch date with a family of deer this week.

I’m definitely going to have to cancel. I’m sure they’re not vaccinated.

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Response to BannonsLiver (Reply #22)

Thu Aug 5, 2021, 11:01 AM

24. Going out to lunch with deer is fun because they always have plenty of doe.

n/t

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Response to Botany (Reply #24)

Thu Aug 5, 2021, 11:08 AM

26. They can usually at least pitch in a few bucks n/t

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #4)

Thu Aug 5, 2021, 09:49 AM

13. If the deer are wild, human exposure is likely very limited. This is bad

I find it unlikely that all of the deer sampled were exposed to infected humans. We've established that surface transmission isn't a substantial vector with Covid, so the deer would have all had to be close enough to inhale viral particles from people. That's unrealistic.

The only plausible explanation for such widespread antibody presence in wild populations across multiple states is that the virus is actively replicating and spreading in those populations.

Further research is definitely warranted. I wouldn't be extremely concerned about hunters being infected, but it does point to animal reservoirs becoming established.

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Response to NickB79 (Reply #13)

Thu Aug 5, 2021, 09:51 AM

14. Kindly reread my post. I address this

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #14)

Thu Aug 5, 2021, 09:56 AM

16. I was responding to this portion

with zero evidence of disease


The widespread distribution of wild deer, all showing positive antibody hits, with no obvious, frequent route for human-to-deer transmission to explain most of them, is itself evidence of active disease in the animals, and of the virus replicating and being transmitted between individual deer in those populations.

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Response to NickB79 (Reply #16)

Thu Aug 5, 2021, 10:37 AM

19. No it is not. It is evidence of ACTIVE EXPOSURE/INFECTION. NOT ACTIVE DISEASE.

Please do some reading. Exposure does NOT equate to active disease in humans or animals. Nor does it always equate to infection. Antibody positive tests indicate sufficient exposure to stimulate an immune response--a B-cell response and thus INFECTION. And, that is ALL we know at this time.

Should more study be done? Absolutely. Should we be spreading unnecessary hysteria? Hell no.

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Response to Botany (Original post)

Thu Aug 5, 2021, 09:24 AM

5. this may not be as bad as you think

yes, having a wild animal reservoir of the virus isn't ideal, otoh it is likely that the mutations that will occur in these population will selectively infect only those populations, much like Delta is a mutation is much more readily infects humans.

And remember, this virus was (all indications) not manufactured by humans but was already circulating in bats before it jumped to humans, possibly by infecting an intermediate species first.

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Response to Botany (Original post)

Thu Aug 5, 2021, 09:26 AM

7. To think hunters thought they were safe.

[img]?w=980&q=75[img]

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Response to Botany (Original post)

Thu Aug 5, 2021, 09:30 AM

8. An Epidemiologist

mentioned this last year, that even if we got most people vaccinated (herd immunity), that there would be a reservoir of the virus in pets, farm animals, wild animals, and zoos. Of course, this could mean the evolvement of a new mutated variant, rendering our vaccines ineffective.

This is starting to remind me of the film 'Groundhog Day'.

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Response to Botany (Original post)

Thu Aug 5, 2021, 09:39 AM

10. Might want to reconsider that hunting license for you and the kiddsies this year.

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Response to Botany (Original post)

Thu Aug 5, 2021, 09:41 AM

11. Bambi's Revenge. nt

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Response to Botany (Original post)

Thu Aug 5, 2021, 09:59 AM

17. Darn. Next time I hike, I won't be talking to the deer I see.

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Response to Hoyt (Reply #17)

Thu Aug 5, 2021, 10:41 AM

20. I saw some this morning while out with my dogs, as I usually do.

But we all maintained a social distance.

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Response to Hoyt (Reply #17)

Thu Aug 5, 2021, 10:59 AM

23. Hiking? Do you have a death wish?!



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Response to Botany (Original post)

Thu Aug 5, 2021, 10:56 AM

21. Lol

I love how often the term “we are fucked” is posted about something here. It’s very unintentionally funny.

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Response to Botany (Original post)

Thu Aug 5, 2021, 11:05 AM

25. Yet another pandemic complication to deal with, and in the end

it's a lot worse news for deer than us. Much of the U.S. (and the world) has a deer population explosion (I were just watching two fawns nursing outside our kitchen), more than forests can support without decline, so seems likely not all will be getting tagged with vaccinations and booster shots as needed.

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