New Texas COVID-19 variant resistant to antibodies, researchers say

Health

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KXAN) —Texas A&M University researchers have identified a new COVID-19 variant called BV-1, after Brazos Valley, where it originated.

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Scientists at the Texas A&M Global Health Research Complex (GHRC) identified the variant from a saliva sample taken from a student as a part of an ongoing testing program. Researchers believe it’s related to the United Kingdom variant.

The student with the confirmed case showed mild flu-like symptoms for nearly a month, suggesting this new variant may cause a longer than normal infection in young adults. Although only one mild case has been confirmed, researchers are worried that the variant shows resistance to antibodies.

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“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,” GHRC Chief Virologist Ben Neuman said in a press release. “This variant combines genetic markers separately associated with rapid spread, severe disease and high resistance to neutralizing antibodies.”

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There have been five COVID-19 variants confirmed by the Center for Disease Control, but researchers across the world have identified thousands.

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