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1.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 120(6): e2215067120, 2023 02 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2222139

ABSTRACT

The spillover of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) from humans to white-tailed deer (WTD) and its ability to transmit from deer to deer raised concerns about the role of WTD in the epidemiology and ecology of the virus. Here, we present a comprehensive cross-sectional study assessing the prevalence, genetic diversity, and evolution of SARS-CoV-2 in WTD in the State of New York (NY). A total of 5,462 retropharyngeal lymph node samples collected from free-ranging hunter-harvested WTD during the hunting seasons of 2020 (Season 1, September to December 2020, n = 2,700) and 2021 (Season 2, September to December 2021, n = 2,762) were tested by SARS-CoV-2 real-time RT-PCR (rRT-PCR). SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected in 17 samples (0.6%) from Season 1 and in 583 samples (21.1%) from Season 2. Hotspots of infection were identified in multiple confined geographic areas of NY. Sequence analysis of SARS-CoV-2 genomes from 164 samples demonstrated the presence of multiple SARS-CoV-2 lineages and the cocirculation of three major variants of concern (VOCs) (Alpha, Gamma, and Delta) in WTD. Our analysis suggests the occurrence of multiple spillover events (human to deer) of the Alpha and Delta lineages with subsequent deer-to-deer transmission and adaptation of the viruses. Detection of Alpha and Gamma variants in WTD long after their broad circulation in humans in NY suggests that WTD may serve as a wildlife reservoir for VOCs no longer circulating in humans. Thus, implementation of continuous surveillance programs to monitor SARS-CoV-2 dynamics in WTD is warranted, and measures to minimize virus transmission between humans and animals are urgently needed.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Deer , Animals , Humans , Animals, Wild , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Cross-Sectional Studies , RNA, Viral/genetics , COVID-19/epidemiology
2.
BMC Vet Res ; 18(1): 124, 2022 Apr 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1840993

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Coronaviruses have the potential to cross species barriers. To learn the molecular intersections among the most common coronaviruses of domestic and close-contact animals, we analyzed representative coronavirus genera infecting mouse, rat, rabbit, dog, cat, cattle, white-tailed deer, swine, ferret, mink, alpaca, Rhinolophus bat, dolphin, whale, chicken, duck and turkey hosts; reference or complete genome sequences were available for most of these coronavirus genera. Protein sequence alignments and phylogenetic trees were built for the spike (S), envelope (E), membrane (M) and nucleocapsid (N) proteins. The host receptors and enzymes aminopeptidase N (APN), angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), sialic acid synthase (SAS), transmembrane serine protease 2 (TMPRSS2), dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP4), cathepsin L (and its analogs) and furin were also compared. RESULTS: Overall, the S, E, M, and N proteins segregated according to their viral genera (α, ß, or γ), but the S proteins of alphacoronaviruses lacked conservation of phylogeny. Interestingly, the unique polybasic furin cleavage motif found in severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) but not in severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) or Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) exists in several ß-coronaviruses and a few α- or γ-coronaviruses. Receptors and enzymes retained host species-dependent relationships with one another. Among the hosts, critical ACE2 residues essential for SARS-CoV-2 spike protein binding were most conserved in white-tailed deer and cattle. CONCLUSION: The polybasic furin cleavage motif found in several ß- and other coronaviruses of animals points to the existence of an intermediate host for SARS-CoV-2, and it also offers a counternarrative to the theory of a laboratory-engineered virus. Generally, the S proteins of coronaviruses show crossovers of phylogenies indicative of recombination events. Additionally, the consistency in the segregation of viral proteins of the MERS-like coronavirus (NC_034440.1) from pipistrelle bat supports its classification as a ß-coronavirus. Finally, similarities in host enzymes and receptors did not always explain natural cross-infections. More studies are therefore needed to identify factors that determine the cross-species infectivity of coronaviruses.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Cattle Diseases , Deer , Dog Diseases , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus , Rodent Diseases , Swine Diseases , Animals , COVID-19/veterinary , Cattle , Dogs , Ferrets , Mice , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/genetics , Phylogeny , Rabbits , Rats , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Swine
3.
Nat Microbiol ; 7(12): 2011-2024, 2022 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2117568

ABSTRACT

Wildlife reservoirs of broad-host-range viruses have the potential to enable evolution of viral variants that can emerge to infect humans. In North America, there is phylogenomic evidence of continual transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) from humans to white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) through unknown means, but no evidence of transmission from deer to humans. We carried out an observational surveillance study in Ontario, Canada during November and December 2021 (n = 300 deer) and identified a highly divergent lineage of SARS-CoV-2 in white-tailed deer (B.1.641). This lineage is one of the most divergent SARS-CoV-2 lineages identified so far, with 76 mutations (including 37 previously associated with non-human mammalian hosts). From a set of five complete and two partial deer-derived viral genomes we applied phylogenomic, recombination, selection and mutation spectrum analyses, which provided evidence for evolution and transmission in deer and a shared ancestry with mink-derived virus. Our analysis also revealed an epidemiologically linked human infection. Taken together, our findings provide evidence for sustained evolution of SARS-CoV-2 in white-tailed deer and of deer-to-human transmission.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Deer , Animals , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
5.
mBio ; 13(5): e0210122, 2022 10 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2001781

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic began by viral spillover from animals to humans; today multiple animal species are known to be susceptible to infection. White-tailed deer, Odocoileus virginianus, are infected in North America at substantial levels, and genomic data suggests that a variant in deer may have spilled back to humans. Here, we characterize SARS-CoV-2 in deer from Pennsylvania (PA) sampled during fall and winter 2021. Of 123 nasal swab samples analyzed by RT-qPCR, 20 (16.3%) were positive for SARS-CoV-2. Seven whole genome sequences were obtained, together with six more partial spike gene sequences. These annotated as alpha and delta variants, the first reported observations of these lineages in deer, documenting multiple new jumps from humans to deer. The alpha lineage persisted in deer after its displacement by delta in humans, and deer-derived alpha variants diverged significantly from those in humans, consistent with a distinctive evolutionary trajectory in deer. IMPORTANCE Coronaviruses have been documented to replicate in numerous species of vertebrates, and multiple spillovers of coronaviruses from animals into humans have founded human epidemics. The COVID-19 epidemic likely derived from a spillover of SARS-CoV-2 from bats into humans, possibly via an intermediate host. There are now several examples of SARS-CoV-2 jumping from humans into other mammals, including mink and deer, creating the potential for new animal reservoirs from which spillback into humans could occur. For this reason, data on formation of new animal reservoirs is of great importance for understanding possible sources of future infection. Here, we identify extensive infection in white-tailed deer in Pennsylvania, including what appear to be multiple independent transmissions. Data further suggests possible transmission among deer. These data thus help identify a potential new animal reservoir and provide background information relevant to its management.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Deer , Animals , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Pennsylvania/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/veterinary
7.
Transbound Emerg Dis ; 69(5): e3289-e3296, 2022 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1854183

ABSTRACT

Wildlife animals may be susceptible to multiple infectious agents of public health or veterinary relevance, thereby potentially forming a reservoir that bears the constant risk of re-introduction into the human or livestock population. Here, we serologically investigated 493 wild ruminant samples collected in the 2021/2022 hunting season in Germany for the presence of antibodies against the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and four viruses pathogenic to domestic ruminants, namely, the orthobunyavirus Schmallenberg virus (SBV), the reovirus bluetongue virus (BTV) and ruminant pestiviruses like bovine viral diarrhoea virus or border disease virus. The animal species comprised fallow deer, red deer, roe deer, mouflon and wisent. For coronavirus serology, additional 307 fallow, roe and red deer samples collected between 2017 and 2020 at three military training areas were included. While antibodies against SBV could be detected in about 13.6% of the samples collected in 2021/2022, only one fallow deer of unknown age tested positive for anti-BTV antibodies, and all samples reacted negative for antibodies against ruminant pestiviruses. In an ELISA based on the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2, 25 out of 493 (5.1%) samples collected in autumn and winter 2021/2022 scored positive. This sero-reactivity could not be confirmed by the highly specific virus neutralisation test, occurred also in 2017, 2018 and 2019, that is, prior to the human SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, and was likewise observed against the RBD of the related SARS-CoV-1. Therefore, the SARS-CoV-2 sero-reactivity was most likely induced by another hitherto unknown deer virus belonging to the subgenus Sarbecovirus of betacoronaviruses.


Subject(s)
Bison , Bluetongue virus , Bluetongue , COVID-19 , Deer , Pestivirus , Sheep Diseases , Animals , Animals, Wild , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/veterinary , Humans , Ruminants , SARS-CoV-2 , Seroepidemiologic Studies , Sheep , Sheep, Domestic
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