Biologists worry next COVID mutation can come from Texas deer
The COVID-19 virus is spreading among deer in Texas. A recent study from the University of Texas at El Paso found signs of infection in about a third of wild deer in a Travis County population. Results from another study closer to home at Texas A&M Kingsville are currently under review.
Dr. Douglas Watts at UT El Paso said there is no evidence the deer are getting anything but mild symptoms from COVID-19, and it currently can't be transmitted back to humans.
Watts said it's not just humans carrying the virus and serving as possible sources of mutation, many deer are also in the mix.
The concern is a mutation of the virus is likely to happen with a larger population.
"If we see the same thing occur in white-tail deer, then there's certainly an opportunity for variants to emerge,” Watts said. “And it could be that some of these variants could be transmitted to humans and from human to human."
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