New strain of COVID-19 identified by Texas A&M researchers
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - Researchers at Texas A&M University have identified a new strain of the COVID-19 virus they claim could be a challenge for public health officials.
Scientists at the Global Health Research Complex are calling the new variant BV-1. The “BV” stands for Brazos Valley, the seven-county region of Texas where Texas A&M and the GHRC are located.
According to the release, the BV-1 variant was found in one student who lives off-campus, but is involved in many on-campus activities. The student was part of the university’s COVID-19 testing program. Researchers said the student tested positive twice in March then tested negative in early April. They said the student’s symptoms were mild and cold-like. Researchers said it appeared the variant caused a longer-lasting infecting than typical of COVID-19 for adults 18-24.
Researchers at Texas A&M released their findings to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as the greater scientific community, to spread knowledge. There have been no more cases of the BV-1 variant detected and no further lab research has been conducted, according to the scientists.
“We do not at present know the full significance of this variant, but it has a combination of mutations similar to other internationally notifiable variants of concern,” said GHRC Chief Virologist Ben Neuman. “This variant combines genetic markers separately associated with rapid spread, severe disease and high resistance to neutralizing antibodies.”
“We have not detected any more instances of this variant,” Neuman added. “We have not grown or tested this virus in any way. This announcement is based purely on the genetic sequence analysis done in the lab.”
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