The coronavirus behind the Covid-19 pandemic has not yet disappeared, and its danger is not limited to the fact that it is still widely infecting humans.
But, according to a new study, the virus usually jumps from us to white-tailed deer, where it appears to evolve more quickly.
The origins of SARS-CoV-2 remain a mystery, but apart from the possibility that it was transmitted from another species to us, the virus has also been shown to be able to pass from us to a variety of other mammals.
According to previous research, the virus may now be common among white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in some parts of the United States.
In the new study, researchers looked for SARS-CoV-2 infection by swabbing the noses of deer grazing freely throughout Ohio. Between November 2021 and March 2022, they used nasal swabs to sample 1,522 deer found in 83 of the state’s 88 counties.
Genetic analysis of the swabs showed active SARS-CoV-2 infection in 10% of the deer, with at least one positive case found in 59% of the counties tested.
The researchers also collected blood samples from a number of deer to look for evidence of previous infections, which indicated the presence of specific antibodies. Based on their findings, they estimate that approximately 24 percent of deer in Ohio have been infected with SARS-CoV-2 at some point.
Furthermore, genetic analysis indicates that at least 30 cases of active infection found in deer have been introduced by humans.
“We generally talk about interspecies transmission as a rare event, but this wasn’t a huge sample, and we’re able to document 30 knock-on effects,” says study co-author Andrew Bowman, a veterinary epidemiologist at Ohio State University. “It appears to be transmission between people and animals.” quite easily.”
Researchers suggest that white-tailed deer may serve as a reservoir for the virus, potentially spreading it to other wildlife, livestock and humans.
Bowman and his colleagues discovered the coronavirus in Ohio deer at nine locations in December 2021, and found that it was more prevalent near dense human concentrations. However, without broader monitoring, the bigger picture remained ambiguous.
Many of the deer showed evidence of exposure to the highly contagious Delta strain, which was the most common strain among humans in the United States during the study period. There were also signs of the alpha variant, which peaked in humans earlier in 2021.
The researchers reported that the genetic makeup of the delta variants in deer matched those prevalent among humans at that time. This suggests that indirect events occurred, where the virus “spread” from our species to its species.
The study found that after a deer somehow caught the coronavirus from a human, the virus appeared to begin circulating among wild deer in groups, with some groups expanding beyond a single county.
SARS-CoV-2 is evolving more quickly in deer than it does in humans, according to an examination of mutations in viral samples, though it’s still not clear what exactly that entails for us. It is plausible that the virus could evolve further in deer and spread to us again, but even if it did, the study suggests that vaccination against coronavirus provides protection.
Even if deer-derived coronavirus variants do not pose an immediate threat to us, they can still wreak havoc on pets or wildlife. According to the data so far, Bowman notes, about 70 percent of the free-roaming white-tailed deer in Ohio have not yet been exposed to SARS-CoV-2.
The study was published in the journal Nature Communications.
Science : A comet offers a “once in a lifetime” opportunity to see it with the naked eye and disappears for 500 years
Comet Nishimura was discovered in August, but will be closest to Earth within a week, starting at dawn on Tuesday, September 12.
A newly discovered comet becomes visible to the naked eye in a few days before it leaves our solar system forever
Professor Brad Gibson, Director of the Milne Center for Astrophysics at the University of Hull, says that Nishimura, who is traveling through space at a speed of 240,000 miles per hour, can already be seen in the hour after sunset and the hour before dawn by looking from east to northeast by looking From east to northeast toward the crescent moon and Venus, while peak visibility is expected next week when the space rock is only 78 million miles away.
He added: “The comet takes 500 years to orbit around the solar system, and the Earth takes one year, and the outer planets can take many decades. Halley’s comet, which aroused a lot of interest during its last close visit to Earth in 1986, takes 76 years to orbit the system.” So, to say that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see Nishimura is not an exaggeration.”
Professor Gibson noted: “It can already be seen, but it will be 78 million miles from Earth on September 12, and this should be the best chance of seeing it with the naked eye. On average, people have the opportunity to see such a comet with the naked eye once every decade, and this A rare and exciting opportunity.”
Nishimura may be visible to the naked eye, but having binoculars or a telescope will make it easier to spot. Stargazers can also use apps like SkyView, Sky Guide, and Night Sky to help find the exact location of comets like this one.
Comet C/2023 P1 (Nishimura) was discovered falling toward the heart of the solar system by amateur astrophotographer Hideo Nishimura in Japan on August 11.
Professor Gibson said that Nishimura will pass close to the sun on September 17, when it will be only 27 million miles away.
Scientists are still trying to estimate Nishimura’s size, but Professor Gibson believes it could range from a few hundred meters in diameter to probably a mile or two.
It is also believed that the comet could be responsible for the annual meteor showers called Sigma-Hydrids, which occur in December every year.
The professor said that comets are “pieces of ice and rocks” left over from the formation of the solar system nearly five billion years ago.
As they approach the Sun, this heats the comet, releasing icy gas that gives them their distinctive tail.
Gibson explained that the Sun releases small particles of dust and rocks from comets when a comet passes near it, and every year the Earth passes through this debris, which leads to meteor showers.
According to Professor Gibson, there is no danger of Nishimura colliding with Earth, as astronomers have accurately mapped its orbit and travel speed.