Make your home page

Researchers identify first case of animal-to-human COVID transmission

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Scientists have identified the very first case of a coronavirus transmission from animal to human, according to a new study

At first, researchers thought white-tailed deer were being infected by people, but new evidence shows it may also work the other way around. 

U.S. and Canadian scientists analyzed nasal swabs of hundreds of deer killed by hunters and trappers in the northeast and parts of Canada.

They found a specific type of coronavirus — one that has not been found in humans — in 17 deer.

Then, they sampled hunters and trappers who were in the same area.

Their findings showed that a person in the region contracted a genetically-similar COVID strain that was known to be specific to deer. 

Scientists are now calling white-tailed deer a reservoir for COVID, making it a prime host for future mutations. 

They can’t say for certain how the virus was passed, but one possible theory is that it was spread by respiratory fluid droplets, just like in human-to-human transmission.

The researches recommend that people in close contact with these animals take precautions, such as wearing goggles and gloves and masking up.