CFAH labs collaborate to publish article entitled "SARS-CoV-2 Serological Investigation of White-Tailed Deer in Northeastern Ohio"

Oct. 13, 2023

Recently Pat Boley, Jiayu Xu, Mingde Liu, Quihing Wang, Linda Saif, and Scott Kenney collaboratively published a paper in MDPI Viruses entitled: SARS-CoV-2 Serological Investigation of White-Tailed Deer in Northeastern Ohio.

Coronaviruses are known to cross species barriers, and spill over among animals, from animals to humans, and vice versa. SARS-CoV-2 emerged in humans in late 2019. It is now known to infect numerous animal species, including companion animals and captive wildlife species. Experimental infections in other animals have established that many species are susceptible to infection, with new ones still being identified. The research team developed an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for detecting antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid (N) and spike (S) proteins, that is both sensitive and specific. It can detect S antibodies in sera at dilutions greater than 1:10,000, and does not cross-react with antibodies to the other coronaviruses tested. They used the S antibody ELISA to test serum samples collected from 472 deer from ten sites in northeastern Ohio between November 2020 and March 2021, when the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic was first peaking in humans in Ohio, USA. Antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 were found in serum samples from every site, with an overall positivity rate of 17.2%; they further compared the viral neutralizing antibody titers to our ELISA results. These findings demonstrate the need to establish surveillance programs to monitor deer and other susceptible wildlife species globally.