The COVID Virus Evolves Three Times Faster in Deer Than in Humans

COVID-According to a new study, 19 variations in white-tailed deer are changing three times quicker than in humans.

Deer serve as virus reservoirs, or locations where viruses grow and multiply, making them an ideal host for continuing mutation.

The virus also appears to be spreading between humans and deer, with genomic sequencing revealing that humans were responsible for at least 30 infections in deer. 

"We usually think of interspecies transmission as a rare occurrence, but this wasn't a large sample, and we were able to document 30 spillovers." 

"It appears to move quite easily between people and animals," said co-senior author Andrew Bowman. 

He is a veterinary preventive medicine associate professor at The Ohio State University in Columbus.

Between November 2021 and March 2022, scientists collected over 1,500 nasal samples from free-roaming deer in 83 of Ohio's 88 counties.

The COVID-19 virus was found in more than 10% of the samples. Scientists discovered at least one positive case in 59% of the counties tested.

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