"Deer Could Be a Reservoir of Old Coronavirus Variants, Study Suggests"

"Even after Delta became the dominant variant in humans, Alpha and Gamma continued to circulate in white-tailed deer, according to new research."

"The Alpha and Gamma variants of the coronavirus continued to circulate and evolve in white-tailed deer, even after they stopped spreading widely among people, a new study suggests.

Whether the variants are still circulating in deer remains unknown. “That’s the big question,” said Dr. Diego Diel, a virologist at Cornell University and an author of the study, which was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Tuesday.

But the findings, which are based on samples collected through December 2021, provide more evidence that deer could be a reservoir of the virus and a potential source of future variants, which could spill back into human populations.

“It is a very large wildlife population in North America that has constant and very intense contact with humans,” Dr. Diel said."

Emily Anthes reports for the New York Times January 31, 2023.

Source: NYTimes, 02/01/2023