New Strain Of COVID-19 Identified By Texas A&M Researchers

Researchers at Texas A&M University have discovered a new COVID-19 variant that is resistant to coronavirus antibodies.

The BV-1 variant was detected in a saliva sample obtained from a Texas A&M student back in early March. Researchers at the Texas A&M Global Health Research Complex are confident that the Texas case is related to the variant discovered in the United Kingdom. That strain has now been declared the dominant strain in the United States.

Global Health Research Complex Chief Virologist Ben Neuman says that the new variant contains a combination of mutations that is similar to other “internationally notifiable variants.” Neuman also concluded that the BV-1 “combines genetic markers separately associated with rapid spread, severe disease and high resistance to neutralizing antibodies.”

The student with the confirmed BV-1 strain suffered from mild flu-like symptoms for nearly a month. This suggests that the new variant could cause a more prolonged infection in young adults.

To date, there have been thousands of global variants detected, though the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed only five COVID-19 variants.

Neuman says that discovering the latest strain reiterates the need for “rigorous surveillance and genomic testing.”

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