New COVID-19 Variant Might Be More Resistant to Antibodies

April 22, 2021

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New COVID-19 Variant Might Be More Resistant to AntibodiesOn April 19th, Texas A&M Today released an article titled "Texas A&M Lab Identifies New COVID-19 Variant; Genome Suggests Potential Resistance To Antibodies," reporting that a new COVID-19 variant was found at the Texas A&M University Global Health Research Complex (GHRC).

The new BV-1 variant seems to be related to the United Kingdom (UK) strain and, according to GHRC Chief Virologist Ben Neuman "combines genetic markers separately associated with rapid spread, severe disease and high resistance to neutralizing antibodies".

The scientists at the Texas A&M University Global Health Research Complex decided to make their findings public after concluding that the new variant might result in longer infections among adults ages 18-24. The variant was first identified after one of the saliva samples taken during the university's COVID-19 testing program came out positive on March 5th. Two more tests followed on March 25th and April 9th, and only the latter of these samples showed no traces of the virus. All samples came from one of the university's students, who remains the single individual affected by this new variant.

The BV-1 variant is one of several new COVID-19 mutations found through the GHRC's genetic sequencing program, and scientists agree that its genetic traits call for further investigation. According to Newman, GHRC will continue studying the BV-1 variant and keep an eye out for new cases. "Though we may not yet understand the full significance of BV-1, the variant highlights an ongoing need for rigorous surveillance and genomic testing among young adults with no symptoms or only mild symptoms," he says.

The GHRC has submitted its findings to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta and trusted the GISAID initiative with the variant's sequence data.

You can read the complete article here: Texas A&M Lab Identifies New COVID-19 Variant; Genome Suggests Potential Resistance To Antibodies.


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