Scientists at Texas A&M Identify New Texas Variant of COVID-19

Scientists have identified just one case of the BV-1 variant

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Scientists at Texas A&M University have identified a new variant of the COVID-19 virus.

The variant, called BV-1 for its Brazos Valley origin, was discovered at the university's Global Health Research Complex in a saliva sample taken from a Texas A&M student in early March, the school said.

Texas A&M said scientists had only found one case of the variant.

"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," Global Health Research Complex Chief Virologist Ben Neuman said. "This variant combines genetic markers separately associated with rapid spread, severe disease and high resistance to neutralizing antibodies."

The lab first detected the BV-1 variant in a sample that tested positive on March 5, the university said. The sample was later retested and confirmed at a federally regulated lab.

Officials said the student tested positive again on March 25 before testing negative on April 9.

The university said BV-1 is one of thousands of variants found worldwide and that scientists would continue to look for more cases of the variant.

“Sequencing helps to provide an early warning system for new variants,” Neuman said. “Though we may not yet understand the full significance of BV-1, the variant highlights an ongoing need for rigorous surveillance and genomic testing, including among young adults with no symptoms or only mild symptoms."

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