The newest COVID-19 variant — which, so far, does not pose a threat to humans — might have been hiding for about one year.

What’s going on?: A new paper from researchers revealed that there was a possible case of deer-to-human COVID-19 transmission in Canada.

  • The researchers reportedly found “a genetically similar version of the virus was identified in a person from the same region of Ontario who had recently been in contact with deer,” CBC News reports.
Possible deer-to-human COVID-19 case reported in Canada
This state has seen COVID-19 spread to deer. This could lead to a ‘dangerous’ mutation, experts say

Details: The new variant has about 79 changes compared to the original strain of COVID-19.

  • So far, it does not pose an immediate threat to humans.

Between the lines: The researchers said that it’s hard for them to determine the lineage of the new variant “because it seems to have gone along unnoticed and unsampled in the background of the pandemic for almost a year,” CNN reports.

  • “They speculate that it spilled over from humans to deer and then back to at least one human,” according to CNN.
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What’s next: Experts told CNN that the novel coronavirus could continue to pass from animals to humans, but then stop because it is meant to spread among animal populations.

  • “There wasn’t an indication that it was persisting and changing in an animal population after these spillover or spillback events,” according to CNN.
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